with china expanding its presence in the indian ocean india has formulated a new maritime approach to retain its prominence in the region it’s a global highway it’s a highway through which passes a majority of the uh oil and cargo that goes from the indian ocean to the pacific andaman and nicobar islands.
Has the potential of being a key base for projection of power in the indian ocean if you look at the sort of geopolitical games that are being played in the indo-pacific region most of these games today are being actually played in the indian ocean region the indian ocean which remained quiet for some time after the cold war has re-emerged as a.
Critical theater for strategic competition hi everybody the underwater islands are by far one of the most neglected regions of india and while most of us only know them as tourist destination very few of us know that if utilized properly these islands can turn india into one of the most powerful regions in the world.
But in spite of being such a crucial part of india just like the north east the government of india has barely done anything to empower these islands and to use them to gain a geopolitical advantage on the world however in 2015 the government came out with a grand announcement to invest 10 000 crores into transforming the andaman and.
Nicobar islands this is expected to turn them into an economic engine as well as a critical military touch point and if executed as stated it will be a historic upgrade in the geopolitical power of india so in this episode of the geopolitical series let’s try to understand why is the andaman and nicobar islands so so.
Important for india how will it give india a superpower in geopolitics and most importantly what are the study materials to help you understand the value of these neglected islands of india this video is brought to you by skillshare people we’ve been upgrading our video editing on this channel and while doing so one of the classes that.
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Skillshare so as usual let’s start from the basics and try to understand the basic geography of andaman and nicobar islands people the andaman and nicobar islands are two groups of islands covering an area of 8249 square kilometers the entire island chain consists of 836 islands out of which 38 are permanently.
Inhabited by a population of 4.3 lakh people these islands are governed as a single union territory by the central government of india through the andaman nicobar administration now in andaman out of 300 islands the main island we have are the north middle and south andaman which are collectively known as.
Great andaman in nicobar we have 19 islands and the most prominent islands are the kaar nikobar in the north kamurta kachala and non covery in the center of the chain and great nikobar in the south this is the basic geography of the andaman and nicobar islands now the question over here is what is so special.
About these tiny islands and how can these islands make india more powerful well for starters if you remember from our china episode you know that under the bri initiative china is indirectly surrounding india they have taken over the hamadoura port in sri lanka the gwadar port in pakistan the quake viewport in myanmar and dhawa pulled in.
Myanmar for a pipeline to mainline china then down south indonesia is getting cozy with china where joint military drills were being conducted and if you see closely you will know that andaman and nicobar islands are so strategically located then out of these five touch points of china four of them fall in the missile range from andaman and nicobar.
Islands while myanmar is just 600 kilometers away hamburg dota is 1400 kilometers away and indonesia is just 420 kilometers away secondly these islands are also a very very important part of our counter strategy that india is planning against the chinese belt and road initiative the first is a necklace.
Of diamond strategy which we already spoke about in the previous episode and the second is something called the double fish hook strategy this is nothing but a maritime strategy to strengthen india’s military hold in the indian ocean so let’s try to understand this double fish hook strategy properly and how andaman and nicobar islands are.
Extremely critical for it the first hook that we have starts from the andaman and nicobar islands extends to sabhang boat in indonesia coco islands in australia and ending at diego garcia which is the u.s military base in chagos islands and each of these entities have an agreement with india which includes a port project agreement with indonesia mutual.
Logistics support agreement with australia which basically says that india and australia can use each other’s facilities and lastly we have an agreement with the us called the logistics exchange memorandum of agreement which again enables both sides to use each other’s facilities the second hook starts from the dukeum.
Port in oman extends to french territories in the reunion islands and then to mauritius and if you draw a connecting line with all these points you will see that even this hook ends at diego garcia and even for this hulk we have military agreements with oman france and mauritius by which we have a very strong hold over the indian ocean.
This is the second reason why the andaman and nicobar islands are super super important for india and this brings me to the third reason that is choke points now if you remember from our china video you know that the closest way for the oil tankers of china to go from middle east to china is through this passage called the strait.
Of malacca this falls within the territorial waters of indonesia malaysia and singapore and close to 40 percent of the entire world’s trade passes through this region with more than 50 000 merchant ships using it every single year and more importantly close to 70 of china’s petroleum and lng exports are.
Shipped through this trade of malacca and 60 of china’s trade flows are moved through this trade and the south china sea now if you see closely the great nicobar island is located literally at the throat of malacca because of which it can choke the trade of china and cut its oil imports.
This is what makes china extremely vulnerable to indian dominance now people when we speak about indian defense some people think that this defense is meant for war with china but i got to tell you that that is a very stupid way to understand geopolitics because you see when a country establishes its military presence all.
Across the world it establishes deterrence which prevents warfare a classy example of the same is the u.s deadlines factor with taiwan in the china taiwan conflict president biden has said he would be willing to use force to defend taiwan and that the u.s stands with other nations to make sure china cannot use.
Force in the region what we’ve seen and what is a real concern to us is in increasingly aggressive actions by the government in beijing uh directed at taiwan raising tensions in the straits u.s warships sailed through the sensitive taiwan strait beijing has called this a deliberate attempt to harm peace and stability in the region.
We have a commitment uh to taiwan under the taiwan relations act a bipartisan commitment that’s existed for for many many years to make sure that taiwan has the ability to defend itself and to make sure that we’re sustaining peace and security in the western pacific that beijing sees this as a sign of support to taiwan.
We stand behind all those commitments and all i can tell you is it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo by force the deterrence factor we hear is that since taiwan has the backing of u.s and u.s has a very close alliance with.
Singapore if china attacks taiwan u.s and singapore will cut off china’s oil supply by blocking the strait of malacca so this deterrence factor alone is enough for china to stay away from taiwan similarly whether it’s the double fish strategy or getting closer to the choke points they are mere deterrence factors that are more about protecting.
You from warfare rather than during warfare these are the three military reasons why the andaman and nicobar islands are extremely important to india and this brings me to part 2 which is the economic importance of the andaman and nicobar islands in this context the first thing india is capable of doing is attracting a billion dollar market and.
Gives stiff competition to both the singapore and colombo ports this can be done by turning these islands into something called the trans shipment hub what is trans shipment hub it’s nothing but an intermediary point wherein ships can load and unload their cargo and if you remember from our dubai episode dubai became an important trans shipment.
Hub because of its deep water port called the jabel ali port and because of that today the jabel ali port brings in billions of dollars as income for the emirate of dubai so trans shipment hub is an extremely profitable and high income venture for any government similarly if you see singapore is a critical trance shipment hub near the.
Underwater nicobar islands and the singapore port alone handled 37.2 million teu use of containers and 626.2 million tons of cargo in 2019 alone and as a result of these developments today the maritime industry of singapore brings in billions of dollars in revenue and this industry alone contributes to seven percent of its entire gdp and the.
Fun fact over here is that the great nicobar island alone which is just one of these islands in the entire chain that itself is bigger than the area of singapore and dubai city combined in fact it has a coastline of more than 900 kilometers long which is an invaluable asset and lastly like i said before more than 40 percent of the entire world’s.
Trade passes from this region which includes trades worth trillions of dollars as a result it becomes one of the perfect spots to become a trans shipment hub and if developed well it could go on to become one of the busiest ports in the world but but but the problem over here is that to become a trans shipment hub you need extremely.
Capable facilities like a deep water port storage facilities internet connectivity cold storage facilities and many more infrastructural elements that act as a supporting element for the maritime industry so this entire maritime industry is not just one port but an entire ecosystem in itself but unfortunately as i said before just like.
The north northeast the garments have not recognized the strategic importance of the undermine and nicobar islands but the good news is that recently the government of india has planned to invest 10 000 crews to turn it into a trans shipment hub of the world and if you look at the list of all the elements that india is actually building for the.
Andaman and nicobar islands it’s absolutely mind-boggling firstly we have a 2 300 kilometer undersea optical fiber network this is an investment worth 1000 to 24 crores and it will deliver a bandwidth of 400 gigabits from chennai and football and 200 gigabits from port blair to other islands then we have the veer sawarkar.
International airport under process which will have a capacity to handle more than 10 million passengers apart from that we have a railway project worth 2400 crores 13 mega development projects worth 6 300 crores which will enable connectivity a 50 megawatt gas-based power plant and 100 megawatt solar power plant all of which will.
Transform andaman and nicobar islands into one of the most developed connected and secured regions of india and as far as the military projects are concerned they are a little complex so i’ll give you a link in the description this is what india is doing to turn undermine and nicobar islands into one of the most strategic and economically productive.
Regions of india so at the end of the day the plans do look ambitious practical and promising but just like any other major project it’s completely up to the government on how and when they actually complete the execution of all these steps if this is very very clear to you let’s move on to the study materials.
The first thing that i’m attaching is the same pdf that i attached to the previous episode which talks about the security implication of the chinese bri initiative the second is a report by a lieutenant commander of the indian navy wherein he has documented the strategic importance of the andaman and nicobar islands and lastly i am attaching both.
The military and the infrastructure development projects that are actually being undertaken by the government to develop the undermined nuclear islands so as citizens keep an eye on them and make sure that they are not just optimistic claims that are meant to please your ego but are actually executed to keep us and our country safe.
That’s all from my side today guys if you learned something valuable please make sure to hit the like button in order to make youtube bubba happy and for more such insightful business and political case studies please subscribe to our channel thank you so much for watching i will see you in the next one bye bye.