Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Military Infrastructure Upgrades


Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Military Infrastructure Upgrades

Senior officials familiar with the developments have told The Indian Express that the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands are in the middle of a major military infrastructure upgrade. These include revamped airfields and jetties to additional logistics and storage facilities, habitat for troops to a robust surveillance infrastructure.

The ongoing large-scale construction activities, write Amrita Nayak Dutta (writes on defence and national security as part of the national bureau of The Indian Express) and Mahendra Singh Manral (Assistant Editor, The Indian Express)  “come amid growing Chinese attempts to expand its influence in the region, which includes the construction of a military facility at Myanmar’s Coco Islands lying 55 km north of A&N Islands."

There are 836 Islands in A&N,  of which only 38 are inhabited.

The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is the first and only tri-service command in the islands and was established in 2001.


Significant upgrades

Sources said there are plans to significantly enhance the surveillance infrastructure at one of the northern islands of A&N, and to construct a permanent habitat for troops there.

The sources said that work on increasing the length of an airstrip at a vital naval air station is being carried out in phases to enable landing of bigger aircraft like P8Is and fighter jets. Its jetty is also being expanded for use by larger ships.

As part of the infrastructure upgrade, a road from the north of the islands to Port Blair in the south is being improved for more traffic.

Other major infrastructure upgrades include upgrading an IAF station to hold fighter squadrons, and for longer durations. This includes plans to expand the runway to nearly 3,000 metres and the creation of infrastructure for the maintenance of assets.

The Centre is also working to construct a container transhipment terminal alongside associated infrastructure to support traffic and operations.

Importance of the chain of islands: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, write then two authors  “are of great strategic importance since they straddle one of the busiest sea lanes in the world and give India the reach to monitor the flow of traffic from the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean) to the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) via the Strait of Malacca that’s key to trade and oil shipments in the Indo-Pacific.”

All Defence Articles