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Japan to provide support for power facility on strategic foothold in India

  • 2016-03-15 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: March 15, 2016 – p. 3)

 

 In response to a request from India, the Japanese government decided on March 14 to conduct a basic survey for the development of a commercial electric power facility on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an Indian strategic foothold in the Bay of Bengal. India has not accepted foreign support on the islands in the Bay of Bengal in the past because there are military facilities there. This marks the first time for New Delhi to ask a foreign country to provide support there. Amid China’s increasing unilateral maritime advancement, the decision is apparently an indication of unity between Japan and India.

 

 According to Japanese government officials, India has asked Japan to provide support for the improvement and upgrading of diesel generators and related facilities at the Chatham power station on South Andaman Island. Tokyo plans to provide support for improving either power generation facilities or power cables. The final decision on the location and support in detail will be made following the survey. The Chatham power station is an important power source for the Andaman region, but its insufficient supply capacity is becoming a serious issue.

 

 The Bay of Bengal is a strategically important area that leads to the South China Sea via the Strait of Malacca. Consequently, Chinese submarines have become active in the bay.

 

 China is advancing its “strings of pearls strategy” in which Beijing provides support for the development of port facilities to Sri Lanka and Myanmar on the Indian Ocean. India is becoming increasingly wary of Beijing’s strategy.

 

 In order to monitor Chinese submarines, the Indian Navy plans to expand its airfields located at the southern tip of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and to deploy reconnaissance planes there. Both Japanese and the Indian officials, however, deny that Tokyo’s support has any strategic significance.

 

 The former Japanese Imperial Army troops were stationed on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during World War II. Foreigners’ access to certain parts of the islands is restricted.

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