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In 2015, the Indian government drew up a 100,000 million Indian rupee plan funded by the Ministry of Shipping and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration to transform the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI) into the country’s first maritime hub. In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the islands for the first time, inaugurating several development projects relating to connectivity, energy, and tourism, among other things. Most recently, he inaugurated the Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar undersea internet cable, which is set to provide a high-speed internet connection to seven remote islands of the ANI chain.

The islands have also seen the recent installation of 31 GPS strong motion sensors and accelerometers, SMS alerts dissemination systems, 13 Automated Weather Stations, State Emergency Operation Centers, and the commissioning of a solar power plant at Attam Pahad. The government of India under NITI Aayog’s “Holistic Development Program” for the islands has invited global players to invest in a wide-ranging social and infrastructure development program, including investments in resorts and other tourist infrastructure.

These developments show how New Delhi is fortifying its southernmost frontier at sea and gearing up for something bigger. As the Indo-Pacific region with its growing prominence becomes a theater of opportunity for India, the ANI have gained an important position in New Delhi’s foreign policy.

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