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  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands : India’s Untapped Strategic Assets

    Andaman and Nicobar Islands : India’s Untapped Strategic Assets
    Publisher: Pentagon Press
    ISBN 978-81-8274-774-6
    Price: ₹. 995/- Purchase Download E-copy

    Publisher: Pentagon Press
    ISBN: 978-81-8274-774-6

    Price: Rs. 995 [Download E-Copy] [Buy Now]

    About the Book

    Since 1947, the Government of India has been curiously disinclined to dislodge itself from a Rip Van Winkle approach to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands that lie in the Bay of Bengal. The vast geographical spread of the archipelagos across 700 km can be understood only when we consider that approximately about 20 km separate Myanmar's Coco Island from Landfall, the northern most island in the Andaman archipelago, while Indira Point at the tip of Great Nicobar, the southern most island in the Nicobar archipelago, lies about 80 km from the tip of Sumatra in Indonesia. This is not a commonly known fact among Indians.

    The ignorance about the islands is endemic and may be the cause for the current policy of 'masterly inactivity and benign neglect' of these high value national assets of immense untapped strategic, commercial and geopolitical potential.
    In this context, the author draws attention to the policy adopted by the country in the fifties to Arunachal Pradesh, erstwhile North-East Frontier Agency(NEFA) when it was decided to administer the tribal region by creating a specialized Agency out of a portion of the state of Assam, which has led to good results politically. In this book the author analyses strategic challenges facing the country as st we enter into the second decade of the 21 century. The issues of 'Malacca Dilemma' for China and India's advantage as well as the issues of South China Sea, Naval Diplomacy and India's Look East Policy have been discussed. Further, India's settled maritime borders with its neighbours in this region is yet another great advantage. The author argues that a government at the Centre which perpetuates the existing policy, would be wilfully tying one arm behind its back, before going forth to meet national security challenges. The indifference towards tapping the strategic potential of the islands is not in national interest. The facts and circumstances in the book make clear that, going forward in st the 21 century, a continuation of shutting out the islands through a government policy of 'masterly inactivity and benign neglect' as the preferred strategy instrument to keep the islands safe from inimical and anti-national elements, would be contrary to national interest and security. On the other hand, leveraging these assets as proposed would give the country a position of strength on issues of security.

    Finally, the author argues that though the islands are an environmentally sensitive region, its strategic importance in the present day context for India cannot be diminished. The book offers suggestions about ways in which India can leverage the geographical location of the islands, especially the Great Nicobar Island at the western entrance of the Straits of Malacca, to tap the potential of the islands to meet India's commercial and security challenges without sacrificing the environmental concerns

    About The Author

    Sanat Kaul was posted as Deputy Commissioner, Nicobar islands from 1975-1977 and again from 1991-1993 when he also served as Chief Secretary, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the last outpost of the Indian Republic in the Bay of Bengal. The Bay Islands came immediately following a posting in Arunachal Pradesh from 1973-1975 where he served in several capacities including Deputy Secretary(Political). Arunachal had already exposed Kaul to the ground realities of administration and security compulsions in the remote and sensitive sub-Himalayan state located on the Sino-Indian border. Tours of duty in Arunachal and A&N, both abutting international borders, provided Kaul the unique opportunity to assess and critically analyse the government's attitude and quality of approach since 1947 to the remote tribal territories. It brought intrinsic understanding of the critical geopolitical importance of the islands which end up at the western entrance of the Straits of Malacca and for the urgent need for decision makers to shed apparent apathy, to harness the strategic potential of the island assets to further national interest. The author is convinced that, going forward, a deliberate failure to deploy the A&N strategic assets to strengthen India's geopolitical position will be directly adverse to India's national security and national defence.

    Sanat Kaul served variously during his career in the civil service, including in the Ministries of Defence, Finance, Home and Civil Aviation (including a stint as India's Representative to ICAO). He holds a Ph.D. (Economics) from University of London and Masters degree in Economics from London School of Economics, U.K.

    Sanat Kaul retired from the Indian Administrative Service in 2007 and lives in Delhi.




    List of Maps, Photographs and Table

    1. Introduction
    2. Background of Andaman & Nicobar Archipelagos
        Maps and Distances

        Background of Andaman Islands

        Some Features of Port Blair

        The Andaman Story

        History of Nicobar Islands

        The Credibility of R. Akoojee Jadwet & Company

        1947: India becomes Independent

        2004 Tsunami and the Nicobar Islands: Role of Ellon Henongo

    3. Importance of Straits of Malacca
        Why Straits of Malacca is the Preferred Option?

        Piracy and its Implications for Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Straits of Malacca

        China’s Malacca Dilemma

        Malacca Dilemma: Finding alternatives to Straits of Malacca

        Alternative 1

        The Myanmar Alternative

        Alternative 2

        KRA Canal

        Alternative 3

        Gwadar Port

        Alternative 4

        Malaysian Alternative

        Alternative 5
    4. The International Law of the Sea and India’s Maritime
        Legislative History

        Developments Till 1965 Post-Independence India

        UNCLOS I—1958

        UNCLOS II—1960

        Developments After 1965

        Maritime Act, 1976

        UNCLOS III—1973-82

        The outcome of UNCLOS III—The 1982 Convention

        on the Law of the Sea

        Maritime Boundaries

        Agreements with Littoral Neighbours

        Tri-junction Agreements
    5. South China Sea
        Chinese Policy of Declaring Core Interest and the Camouflage of Peaceful Rise

        Basis of Chinese Claims over South China Sea

        China’s Status under UNCLOS III and Disputes with its
        Maritime Neighbours
    6. Rise of Regional Groupings in Indo-Pacific Region:
        Civil Initiative


        ASEAN—A True Indo-Pacific Regional Group


        Indian Ocean Rim – Association for Regional
        Cooperation (IOR-ARC)

        Mekong Ganga Project

    7. Indian Naval Diplomacy and Defence Initiatives
        Milan Exercise

        Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

        Malabar Exercise

        SIMBEX with Singapore

        JIMEX with Japan
    8. A Strategic Shift in India’s Defence Policy Post-LEP 1991 and Andaman & Nicobar Islands
        US Tilt Towards India

        India and Japan: Convergence of Views

        India and Australia

        China in Indian Ocean Region

        Chinese Apprehension

        The ASEAN Conundrum

        China-India Conflict in South China Sea

        Post-26/11 Developments and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

        Mumbai Attack: Lessons

        History of Defence Establishment in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

        The Forward Policy in the Indo-Pacific
    9. Leveraging Soft Power: A Tourism Policy for Andaman & Nicobar Islands that
        Compliments the Forward Policy

        Complementarity between Tourism and Security

        Complementarity between Environment and Security

        Trade-off between Security and Environment

        Present Civil Policy—Environmental Issues Dominate

        Supreme Court of India and Environment of
        Andaman & Nicobar Islands

        Environmental Concerns and Development

        Island Development Authority (IDA)

        Environment and Tourism: The Soft Option

        Why Tourism?

        Draft Tourism Policy

        The Final Version of Tourism Policy

        Comparative Tourism Policies of Select Countries
    10. 10. Andaman & Nicobar Islands—Strategic Challenges:

        A Proposed Policy Prescription

        Integrating Andaman & Nicobar Islands with LEP

        Soft Power Option

        National Security and Uninhabited Islands

        Scuba Diving a Source of Surveillance and
        Environmental Protection

        Policy Towards Nicobar Islands

        Mass Tourism Versus High Value Tourism

        Locating Tourism Sites with Strategic Value

        Issues of Connectivity to Andaman & Nicobar Islands

        Domestic Air Connectivity: Government of India Policy on

        Connecting Remote Locations

        Direct International Connectivity

        MoU with Phuket: Sister Cities

        Telecom Connectivity

        The Indo-Pacific and the Nicobar Islands—Strategic Angle


    1. The Boundary Agreement Between China and Pakistan,

      March 1963 198
    2. Memorandum of Understanding Between Phuket Chamber of

      Commerce and Andaman Chamber of Commerce and

      Industry, November 2003 202
    3. Agreement of Friendship/Cooperation Between City of Port

      Blair and Phuket Province, June 2005



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