Student Name: Gurjot Singh
Uploaded Date: 19 February,2021
The Andaman Nicobar islands have not only pristine forest reserves, rich biodiversity and economic potential but also hold strategic importance as they overlook the sea-lanes of communication of indo-Pacific region. Therefore government of India is giving serious considerations to their development as manifested through mega-city plan for Little Andaman Islands. According to scholars, the government’s plan to develop them as financial services and tourism hub on the lines of Singapore and Hongkong is not so simple rather is fraught with many challenges. According to them, the following aspects can be considered in their planning:— 1) Environment:-The Andaman Nicobar island archipelago consists of around 500 islands. One of biggest is little Andaman. They have tropical evergreen forests characterised by luxurious vegetation and hardwood trees like ebony, mahagony, rosewood etc. It also has Great Nicobar biosphere reserve. The islands are also home to various endangered and critically endangered species like leatherback sea turtles, saw-tooth fish etc. They are also very geologically vulnerable to tsunami and earthquakes as witnessed on 26 December 2004 when most of the little Andaman Islands were structurally displaced and invaded by violent sea waves. Further, they are home to particularly vulnerable tribal groups namely shompens, little Andamanese, jarawas, onges, Nicobarese. 2) Environment- Development balance:- The mega city plan of government involves airport, ring-road on Andaman, Underwater casinos and bars, residential buildings, shopping complexes, bank, financial service centre. Though it also earmarks one-third area for onges tribal group but that may not suffice the purpose because of their hostility towards outsiders. The project would also involves cutting of millions of trees which is termed as ‘Green wash’. It also contravenes the government plan of creating a 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon sink as per Paris climate change agreement 2015. Apart from all these challenges, the islands are located near to geological boundary of Indian plate and Australian plate. So comparing their development on lines of Singapore and Hongkong is a fantasy......3) Security:- Though Indian defence forces have stationed Andaman and Nicobar command including an Indian Air Force base at port Blair. Further, the IAF has SU-30 MkI and jaguar fighter jet squadrons stationed there including an air defence system to counter any Chinese misadventurism there. After Galwan valley clash in 2020 the Indian security circles are amprehensive of possible Chinese intrusion into these islands. Therefore, is planning to place undersea sensors with the halp of Japan.....Conclusion:- The development and planning of islands should limited to defence of India and security purposes but they should not be exploited for economic gains because of their geological sensitivity and environmental services.......gurjot
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