‘Andamans should be developed as commercial hub’

Kolkata, May 16 (IANS) Expressing confidence in the “adequate” security arrangements in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, a senior Indian Navy officer has said that the authorities should focus on developing the archipelago as a commercial hub.

“We should look at developing Andaman and Nicobar commercially, specially (its capital) Port Blair as it is central to the islands. A lot of tourism related activities are happening already in the Andamans,” Vice Admiral H.C.S. Bisht, chief of the Eastern Naval Command, said at a workshop on Monday.
The workshop on ‘India’s Maritime Connectivity: Importance of the Bay of Bengal’ was organised by the Observer Research Foundation in the city.
“The security arrangement in the island is in place. We have strong Navy and Army base in the islands. Adequate amount of surveillance and patrolling is done in the adjoining Indian Ocean region (IOR) by the Indian Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard forces.”
“So, if Andaman and Nicobar is developed as a commercial hub in future, we would have the security arrangement to protect it,” Bisht said.
To buttress his point, the Vice Admiral referred to Singapore.
He said the sovereign city-state, also an archipelago, has seen immense development as a commercial hub in Southeast Asia.
“The geographical location of the (Andaman and Nicobar) Islands provides it an excellent advantage. It can become a trans-shipment hub like Singapore in the future,” Bisht said.
“Singapore is a major port, where major ships come because of its geographical location and from there on smaller ships are used to carry the cargo around the region. From that point of view, the Andaman and Nicobar provides a much better geographical advantage,” he explained.

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