Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a submarine optical fibre cable connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands with the mainland. The launch was held through videoconferencing. The connectivity enabled by the cable would bring new opportunities for the islands’ residents.
As per the government statement, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the project in Port Blair on December 30, 2018 and on Monday, that much-awaited ₹1,224-crore Chennai-Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) undersea Internet cable — the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) — was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In his speech, the PM stated that how Andaman & Nicobar Islands felt the need for years but no steps were taken to fulfil it. Considering providing better and cheap connectivity to the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a responsibility of the country, the Prime Minister stated that how the government was committed to developing “national security-linked border areas and island states”.
It is worth noting the Indian Ocean and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands had been important centres for trade and strategic cooperation. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands had an important role to play in India’s “Act East” policy.
On improving connectivity, several projects were under way, including enhancement of the capacity of the Port Blair airport; new airports at Diglipur, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay; and passenger terminals at Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep and Long Island.
The islands would be development as a hub of “port led development” as they were located at a competitive distance from many other ports.
As the country moved towards self-reliance and established itself as an important player in the global supply and value chain, it was important to improve the network of waterways and ports.
In order to boost maritime trade, Prime Minister stated that the Centre was focussed on promoting ease of doing business. For example, a trans-shipment port had been proposed at Great Nicobar at a cost of Rs.10,000 crore to enable bigger ships to anchor.
The undersea cable measuring 2,313 km has been laid between Chennai and Port Blair, and will cover seven islands of A&N Islands, other than Port Blair including Swaraj Dweep (Havlock), Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar and Greater Nicobar.
The submarine cable will help A&N in getting cheaper and better connectivity and reap the benefits of digital India, especially in improved online education, tele-medicine, banking system, online trading and tourism.
This will provide up to Port Blair 400 Gb/s speed of Internet and 200 Gb/s speed for other islands.
The work of laying undersea cable has been executed by BSNL in a record time of less than 24 months and 4G mobile services will get a big boost on these islands due to OFC connectivity.
With good broadband speed and more robust telecom network, Andaman & Nicobar will become a destination for investment for companies besides giving fillip to Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative. In addition to this, today’s effort in this decade will not only give advantage to Andaman & Nicobar and its people, but also, make a prominent place for the tourists in the world map.