Japan has finalised loans and a grant totalling around 233 billion yen for several key infrastructure projects in India, including for a project in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Grant for Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI):
- A grant of 4.01 billion yen for a project for the improvement of power supply in strategically located Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The grant would be used to procure 15MWh batteries as well as power system stabilisers to allow better utilisation of solar power generated in South Andaman.
- This grant is Japan’s first ever Official Development Assistance (ODA) to a project in the A&N islands.
- ODA is defined as government aid designed to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries.
- Loans and credits for military purposes are excluded.
- India has been the top recipient of the Japanese government’s financial aid under the ODA.
Japan’s Aid for Other Projects:
- For Delhi Metro’s fourth phase.
- For Metro lines under Namma Metro’s second phase in Bengaluru.
- For crop diversification in Himachal Pradesh.
- For mitigating fluorosis in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu and Barmer districts.
Significance of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI) are located at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
- It is a group of 572 islands, which straddles some of the busiest trade routes in the world.
- ANI spans 450 nautical miles in a roughly north-south configuration adjacent to the western entrance to the Malacca Strait, which is itself a major Indian Ocean chokepoint.
- Geopolitically, the ANI connects South Asia with South-East Asia. While the northernmost point of the archipelago is only 22 nautical miles from Myanmar, the southernmost point, Indira Point, is a mere 90 nautical miles from Indonesia.
- The islands dominate the Bay of Bengal, the Six Degree and the Ten Degree Channels that more than sixty thousand commercial vessels traverse each year.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands constitute just 0.2% of India’s landmass but provide near 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone.
- Due to the presence of ANI in the Bay of Bengal, India has a better position to play a vital role in Indo-Pacific
- Recently, the Prime Minister has declared that the ANI will be developed as a “maritime and startup hub”.