Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday dedicated to the nation, the submarine optical fibre cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the mainland through video conferencing. The prime minister had laid the foundation stone for this project on December 30, 2018, at Port Blair.
Prime Minister Modi said the connectivity would now enable endless opportunities in the islands. He said the laying of the 2,300 km submarine cable and its completion ahead of the deadline was highly praiseworthy.
The prime minister said that the service had begun on a major chunk of the islands from Chennai to Port Blair, Port Blair to Little Andaman and Port Blair to the Swaraj Island.
The prime minister said that the laying of the long-distance undersea cable, maintaining the quality of the cable and the laying of the cable with specialised vessels was not an easy task. The project also had to overcome challenges such as high tidal waves, storms and monsoons and the tough times owing to coronavirus pandemic.
The prime minister said the Andaman & Nicobar Islands felt the need for years but no steps were taken to fulfil it. Prime Minister Modi expressed his happiness for being able to deliver the project notwithstanding such major challenges.
Prime Minister Modi said that the government was committed to providing modern facilities to every citizen and every sector to ensure better ease of living. He said this optical fibre project linking the Andaman & Nicobar Islands with the rest of the country was a step in that direction. He added that the government was committed to the expeditious development of national security linked border areas and island states.
Increase Opportunities Through Digital India
The prime minister said the submarine cable will help the union territory to get cheaper and better connectivity and all the benefits of Digital India, especially in improving online education, telemedicine, banking system, online trading and boosting tourism.
The prime minister said the Indian Ocean was at the centre of India’s trade and strategic prowess for thousands of years and that Andaman & Nicobar was an important centre for India’s economic-strategic cooperation.
He said all the Islands of India would be playing an important role under India’s new trade strategy for the Indo-Pacific region. Prime Minister Modi said under the government’s Act-East policy, the role of Andaman & Nicobar in India’s strong relations with East Asian and other countries in the region was very high. He said that the Island Development Agency was formed three years ago to strengthen its role. He said that the projects that were not completed in Andaman and Nicobar for years were now rapidly getting completed.
High Impact Projects
The prime minister said that high-impact projects were being expanded in the 12 islands of Andaman & Nicobar archipelago. Apart from providing for better internet and mobile connectivity, he said the effort was to further improve physical connectivity through road, air and water.
The prime minister referred to the work on two major bridges and the National Highway (NH)-4 in order to improve the road connectivity of North and Middle Andaman.
He said the Port Blair Airport is being enhanced to handle a capacity of 1,200 passengers. Along with this, the airports are ready for operations in Diglipur, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay.
Prime minister Modi said the passenger terminals in Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep and Long Island along with water aerodrome infrastructure like floating jetty will be ready in the coming months.
He said that the four ships being built at the Kochi Shipyard shall be delivered soon to improve connectivity between the islands and the mainland.
He said Andaman & Nicobar will be developed as a hub of port-led development as it is at a competitive distance from many parts of the world.
The prime minister said that India was moving forward with the resolve of self-sufficiency and was establishing itself as an important player in the global supply and value chain. Therefore, it was very important to strengthen our network of waterways and ports. He said that the legal bottlenecks in the development of the port infrastructure were also being removed continuously.