The security and development of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal is interlinked as one cannot be achieved without the other, a top military commander said Saturday.
“Security and development of these islands are the two sides of the same coin. Security without development is pointless and development without security is like an able boxer with his guard down,” Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar, the commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) said on the concluding day of the two-day seminar on the security and development of the archipelago.
In this context, he noted that the ANC “has always been a catalyst in the development of these islands. We will ensure that security and development is achieved while maintaining the ecological balance”.
Maj Gen AK Chaturvedi, the ANC chief of staff, in his closing address said: “There is great potential for the development of the archipelago but there also are gaps between potential and reality”.
“Through inter-ministerial and multi agency synergy this gap would be bridged. We shall not only provide a security environment where the development will flourish, but also contribute in ways that the look east policy achieves what it aims,” he added.
Former president APJ Abdul Kalam had inaugurated the seminar on Friday. Among those who addressed the conference were Shyam Saran, the prime minister's special envoy on climate change; R Chidambaram, the principal scientific adviser to the government of India; Rear Admiral (retd) Raja Menon, a noted security analyst and Deputy Inspector General KR Nautiyal of the Coast Guard.
Topics such as strategic and geopolitical overview of the region, evolution of strategic concerns, determinants of security of the islands, Chinese and other regional powers' interests and India’s foreign policy and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were discussed during the seminar.
The ANC’s initiative of hosting the seminar “to rightly evolve ideas and transforming them into action plan is viewed as a watershed event in the history of the archipelago”, a defence ministry statement said.
“The seminar rightly justifies the ANC’s mission statement: 'The nation's Look East Policy is the engine that will drive the functioning of the ANC in the near to intermediate future. Our mission begins with an assurance of unimpeded use of the seas in our areas of responsibility'”, the statement added.