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Rajnath's Visit to Andaman and Nicobar Islands to Focus on Maritime Security

Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s three days official tour to Andaman and Nicobar, beginning April 6, is likely to be circled around maritime security and other development-related issues.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:April 5, 2017, 6:48 PM IST
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Rajnath Singh
File photo of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Kolkata: Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s three days official tour to Andaman and Nicobar, beginning April 6, is likely to be circled around maritime security and other development-related issues.

Concerned over maritime security and threats from the neighbouring countries, the local administration has sent a proposal to the Union Defence Ministry and Ministry of Home Affairs to extend two existing runways - close to China, Burma and Indonesia - with night landing facilities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

It is expected that besides attending host of programmes, Singh may review the proposal (on maritime security) with the concerned officials in the archipelago.

Strategically, Shivpur Naval Airbase in North Andaman Islands (which is close to China), and Campbell Bay airstrip in Port Blair (which is close to Indonesia and Thailand) are important points in terms of India’s maritime security. The reason being China has already set up a huge naval and air force base in Coco Island in Myanmar.

Also, the Western Coast of Nicobar Island required an elaborate security plan. “This stretch is a safe haven for the poachers from China, Burma and Thailand. We should not forget 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, where the perpetrators came in a boat from Pakistan,” Speaking to News18, a senior Coast Guard official said.

“We hope the union minister will discuss these issues. This will empower us to monitor suspicious activities in the North Andaman Sea,” he said.

Andaman and Nicobar is an important strategic point due to its proximity with the Malacca Straits - gateway to international trade. As per statistics, every year more than 42,000 ships - carrying critical energy and defence products beside other trade items - passe through the Malacca Straits.

It is expected that Singh may announce several measures to strengthen security. During his stay, Singh will lay a wreath at the Martyr's Column at Cellular jail and meet the Lt Governor Jagdish Mukhi.

He will also lay the foundation stone for a solar power plant at Guptapara village and will visit Tsunami Memorial in Car Nicobar Island. He will inaugurate a new building of a senior secondary school at Malacca and hold a meeting with tribal council captains and other tribal leaders there. He is also scheduled to visit Ross and Havelock Island.

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| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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