NEW DELHI - For the first time in history, India to station fighter airplanes in the Andaman and Nicober Islands to strengthen India 's hold over the crucial Malacca, Sunda, and Lumbok Strait and the Straits of Ombai Wetar and the eastern Indian Ocean Region, top sources told India Today.
This is the first time fighter airplanes will be positioned in Andaman and Nicobar islands since World War II.
The Malacaa, Sunda and Lumbok straits are narrow ocean passes that connect the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea. About 70 per cent of world's trade, by volume and energy passes through these narrow straits.
Over the last few years, more and more Chinese warships and submarines including nuclear submarines have been spotted in India 's backyard as the game to dominate the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) hots up.
Recently, the Indian Navy sent a tacit message to Beijing that it will keep an eye over the region by tweeting pictures of Chinese warships entering the Indian Ocean Region.
Leveraging the Andaman Island chain as line of defence against an aggressive China has been in the plans for some time now. The Modi government, however, has put more energy and focus to realise this.
The decision to beef up security at the Andaman and Nicobar island comes at a time when India and China are looking to cool down tempers along the 3,488 km long un-demarcated and disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) after an informal summit between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping last month.