SOURCE: HIMANSU SWAIN / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Located at the entrance of straits of Malacca having spread over 350 Islands & an area of 8250 Sq.km, The Andaman & Nicobar Island is the one of the most strategically island chain in the world. It is the only place where India’s tri-service military command is operational. The straits of Malacca, world’s second-busiest waterway is the passage which amounts China’s 80% of China’s oil imports ( nearly six million barrels of oil per day), meaning that some 40% of general consumption.
It is also known as the vocal cord to china, Japan & south Korea’s energy economy. The ANC (Andaman & Nicobar Command) is the vital military establishment keeping India’s hawk eye in the region as stubborn China is being more assertive now-a-days. The growing ties between INDIA & US has forced china to paly Anti-India card in geopolitics.
Though there is a significance presentence of US military in South-east Asia, however India has decided to modify its military infrastructure & deployment in the A &N island. The theatre command hosts just one infantry brigade, around 30 warships – mostly amphibious landing ship tanks and small landing craft and a handful of Dornier-228 maritime patrol aircraft as well as Mi-8 and Chetak helicopters.
India’s Military Roadmap In Andaman
In 2016, India has deployed two P-8I Poseidon aircraft for surveillance, reconnaissance as well as Submarine hunting & some Searcher-II unmanned aerial vehicles on a temporary basis.IAF is also planning to station one SU-30MKI squadron (20 Aircrafts), once 272 Aircrafts get delivered.
The Andaman Air base is about to go on a major Overhaul to host C-130J Planes & Predator Guardian UAVs.
India’s Top military brass plans to deploy some S-400 Batteries in the island for Air-Denial access.
India is likely to add another 1-2 infantry brigade to the Theatre command.
Energy Rich Andaman: Middle East of IndiaMany of us don’t know that, Andaman is known as the MIDDLE EAST of India due to its Huge Oil & Gas Reserves. This is because of subduction process which is happening in the Bay of Bengal whereby Indo-Australian plate is diving under Eurasian Crustal Plate and leading ride of crude oil & natural gas. Indonesia is in the possession of the southern part of this subduction zone which enables it to produce over 1 million barrels of crude oil daily alongside making it the No .1 producer of natural gas in the Asia-Pacific region. Even Myanmar which lies to the north of this subduction zone produce 30k barrels of crude oil daily. It has even installed offshore oil & gas fields near the Andaman basin for large scale explorations and purification.
The question that arises is that why India splurges its foreign currency reserves while our very neighbours Indonesia and Myanmar are exploiting the very oil reserves right in our backyard in Bay of Bengal. Among all the potential unproven locations, Andaman and Nicobar is particularly interesting. The ocean around Andaman and Nicobar Islands falls under the 55,000 Km subduction zone of Indo-Australian plates; subduction zone is the zone for potential crude oil sites. Out of this 60,000 Km of subduction zone, 7,500 Km of land and ocean are the part of international territorial waters of India. It would be interesting to note that this entire zone rich in oil & natural gas is spread across an area of 83,419 square km. 22 deep water bores were explored and were found to be rich in oil & natural gas. An estimated 75% of India’s sedimentary basins are yet to be explored. According to a Gov report, 18 trillion cubic feet of reserves are yet to be produced in India and 27 trillion cubic feet of reserves are yet to be developed.
India spends 31% of its foreign exchange on buying oil & gas from middle east. If India starts extracting oil from deep waters, then nobody can stop us from becoming an exporter of oil as well as a member of OPEC & our economy will become strongest in the world with unprecedented GDP growth. The dream of what we see about $ 1 DOLLAR becoming Rs 1 Rupee will be true. But Some Western & Sheikh Interest resisting Gov of India & ONGC to explore such oil reserves in India. These lobbies don’t want India to overtake them at one go. However, India will extract oil form these reserves at any cost. So that’s the reason ANDAMAN NICOBAR ISLAND is significant for India.