10th August may well be a historic day in the Indian maritime chapter as the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, announced a $1 billion investment to develop a trans-shipment hub in the Indian Islands of Andaman and Nicobar.
India has in its arsenal the major ports of Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam, but has historically lost it to Colombo when it comes to developing a trans-shipment hub. The formulated port is expected to be an alternative to Colombo, given its geographical location.
Lying some 850 miles off the Indian heartland in the Indian Ocean, Andaman and Nicobar Islands mainly serve as a tourist spot for a vast majority of the Indian population. It’s in close proximity to the South-East Asian countries and lies in the vicinity of vital shipping routes passing through the Indian Ocean Region(IOR).
Experts believe that the investment would pay off, given the close proximity of the island to that of Australia, China and Japan.
The Indian government is moving fast with meeting the maritime logistical requirements in the IOR, with an eye for promoting ‘ease of business in the sea’.
Experts aim this move as part of India’s growing expansion in the IOR, with increasing its maritime presence being of utmost importance in the same.
Currently, there’s a growing power struggle in Asia, with China and India going head-on in all sectors, including maritime. Since Andaman and Nicobar Islands lie close to one of the most important shipping lanes- The Strait of Malacca, something that China has been eyeing for some time, this is a strategic step towards the same.