unacademy 16th January 2019 Important Editorial Discussion(Integrating the Island) Presented By: Prabhakar Jha
Prime Ministers of India rarely traveled to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi visited in 1984 and 1986 respectively, and Manmohan Singh went there in early 2005 to review the tsunami relief operations. e Prime Minister's recent visit to the islands is only the fourth over the last many decades. PM's visit will hopefully begin to change India's national narrative on the Andamans.
Historical Importance Prime Minister's decision to time his visit with the 75th anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose flying the tricolor in Port Blair has helped highlight the role of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India's freedom struggle. The focus on Bose inevitably draws attention to the fragmented response of the national movement to the Second World War. The Indian National Congress, led by Mahatma Gandhi, refused to support the British war effort and opposed the mobilization of Indian resources to defeat the Axis powers. . The Communist Party of India, which initially declared the Second World War as an "inter- imperialist war", chose to actively support the war effort when Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Russia in 1941. Bose, in contrast, chose to align with Berlin and Tokyo to fight the British colonial rule. His Azad Hind government in Port Blair was founded on imperial Japan's occupation of the Andaman Islands. . Japan's support for Bose was part of Tokyo's mobilization of Asian nationalism against European colonial powers. The story of Bose, Japan, and the Azad Hind government underlines the enduring geopolitical significance of the Andaman Island chain and its waters. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the islands were the site of contestation between European colonial powers Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and Britain. After the Napoleonic wars in Europe, the Indian Ocean turned into a British Lake through the 19th century.
Strategic Importance Now labeled the 'unsinkable aircraft carrier', the islands provide India with a springboard to expand its strategic frontiers to its maritime east. The two archipelagos consisting of 572 islands, islets and rocks that form a chain gives India its strategic and economic importance in the Bay of Bengal as well as in the Indo- Pacific region.
Geographical Salience: Linking Security and Economics .The ANI's geographical orientation is perhaps its most standout characteristic. . Traffic passing in and out of the Strait of Malacca routinely circumvent Great Nicobar and enter the 200-kilometer-wide Six Degree Channel, while a smaller portion uses the Ten Degree Channel that separates the Andaman Islands from those of Nicobar. Landfall Island, the northernmost island in the chain is a mere 40 kilometers from the Coco Islands of Myanmar, while Indira Point, near Campbell Bay, is about 165 kilometers from Aceh in Indonesia. . Being inextricably linked variables, it is impossible to talk of either of them in complete isolation. With geography favouringlndia to such a large extent in relation to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it is up to the political leadership to work with the armed forces to capitalize on this good fortune and add further impetus to India's maritime aspirations in and around India's maritime east.
GS And GA faculty @ Mahendra's Coaching Institute. Teaching Polity, and international relations for 7 years