India lights subsea cable linking mainland to remote Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Monday saw the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurate a submarine cable that stretches between Chennai, on India’s east coast, to the distant Andaman and Nicobar Islands, around 2,300 km to the east across the Bay of Bengal.
A project planned since 2018, the cable will provide bandwidth of 400 Gbps between Chennai and Port Blair, situated on South Adaman Island. From this hub, connectivity will extend across the archipelago, reaching Swaraj Dweep (Havelock), Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island, and Rangat.
The cost of deploying the cable has been reported at around 1,224 crore rupees (around $160.4 million).
The cable will provide the region with greatly improved connectivity, unlocking high-speed broadband, as well as improving 4G mobile services due to no longer having to rely so heavily on satellite for mobile backhaul.
“This will lead to great benefits like e-education, banking facilities, telemedicine and surge employment by providing a major boost to the tourism sector,” said Amit Shah, Indian Minister of Home Affairs.
While this greatly improved connectivity is very nice for the Islands’ population and the tourists visiting it, the real driving factors for this deployment may be more strategic in nature. With their remote location so close to valuable South-East Asian shipping routes, the Islands are home to a great deal of Indian naval activity, which, of course, increasingly requires excellent connectivity.
Perhaps the most famous Andaman Island, North Sentinel Island, known for its uncontacted indigenous population vehemently hostile to outsiders, will, naturally, not be among the territories connected.
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