Connectivity enabled by it will bring new opportunities for the islands’ residents, he says.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a submarine optical fibre cable connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands with the mainland that would give residents of the islands faster Internet connection.

At the launch held through videoconferencing, he said the connectivity enabled by the cable would bring new opportunities for the islands’ residents. The laying of the 2,300-km-long cable before the deadline of the project deserved praise, he noted.

The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the project in Port Blair on December 30, 2018, a government statement said.

“The Prime Minister said the Andaman & Nicobar Islands felt the need for years but no steps were taken to fulfil it… The Prime Minister said providing better and cheap connectivity to the people of Andaman & Nicobar Islands is the responsibility of the country”, the statement said.

Mr. Modi said the government was committed to developing “national security-linked border areas and island states”, it stated.

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, he observed.

Projects under way

On improving connectivity, Mr. Modi said 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.

Mr. Modi said 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, he said 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.

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