[Answered] India has started building a holistic naval base on Great Nicobar Island. Discuss its strategic significance.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain strategic significance of a naval base on Great Nicobar Island.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Great Nicobar is the southernmost of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Recently, the Government of India has begun to build a holistic naval base on Great Nicobar Island, which stands squarely overlooking the entrance to the Malacca Straits, and is barely 90 miles from the tip of Indonesia.

Strategic significance:

  • A naval base in Great Nicobar would be the central piece to an oceanic strategy, to offer a counter attack to Chinese aggression in the Himalayas. It helps to control on China’s extended neck stretching far out into the Indian Ocean, far westward to Djibouti and Gwadar.
  • India can take the advantages by its maritime geography as China’s Indian Ocean lines of communications imports over 65 per cent of its oil dependency.
  • The tactical scenario in the Malacca Straits and South China Sea is already dominated by the intelligence sharing and communications agreements of the Quad. In times of crisis, these agreements would be activated, and India would be the beneficiary of the entire tactical picture in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.
  • An aggressive Chinese move on the northern LAC would be countered by a threat to China-bound tankers in the Malacca Straits.
  • Operating from the new base in Great Nicobar, Indian fighter aircraft directed by own air early warning aircraft would clamp down information dominance over the Malacca Straits.
  • A full-fledged Pearl Harbour that will be the Indian outpost of the to-be-set-up eastern theatre command, which is strong enough to deter the Chinese risking escalation with India.
  • With a base in Great Nicobar, the entry to the Malacca Straits would be a hundred miles away while the nearest Chinese base in Sanya would be 1,500 miles away.
  • With access to the Malacca Straits in Indian hands, plans of China to operate an aircraft carrier in support of Djibouti and base it in Gwadar would be better handled.

The strategic importance of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is ever increasing to the world order in general and Indian sub-continent in particular. A secure IOR is key to ensuring security of India’s national interests. Given its physical location, the A&N Islands are the natural platform for collaboration between India and Southeast Asia.

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