General Studies IGEOGRAPHYIndian Geography

Andaman and Nicobar


An oxygen generation facility was inaugurated by Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN) Lieutenant General Ajai Singh at Indian Naval Hospital,INHS Dhanvantari in Port Blair

About Andaman and Nicobar Islands 

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI) is a union territory of India consisting of 572 islands, of which 38 are inhabited, at the junction of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
  • The territory is about 150 km north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated from Thailand and Myanmar by the Andaman Sea.
  • It comprises two island groups, the Andaman Islands (partly) and the Nicobar Islands, separated by the 150 km wide Ten Degree Channel 
  • The Andaman Sea lies to the east and the Bay of Bengal to the west. The island chains are thought to be a submerged extension of the Arakan Mountains.
  • Lakshadweep Islands are coral islands. These islands are a part Reunion Hotspot volcanism
  • Duncan passage separates Little Andaman from South Andaman.
  • The territory’s capital is the city of Port Blair.
  • The total land area of the islands is approximately 8,249 km2 
  • THE BARREN AND NARCONDAM ISLANDS, north of Port Blair, are volcanic islands [these are the only active volcanoes in India][There are no active volcanoes in main land India].
  • Saddle peak (737 m) in North Andaman is the highest peak.
  • State Animal of Andaman is the dugong (sea mammal) really endemic to Indo-Pacific seacoast areas, especially to the Andaman Islands. [Sea-cow is a herbivorous marine mammal].
  • The territory is divided into three districts: the Nicobar District with Car Nicobar as its capital, the South Andaman district with Port Blair as its capital and the North and Middle Andaman district with Mayabunder as its capital.
  • The islands host the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service geographical command of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • The Andaman Islands are also home to the Sentinelese people, an uncontacted tribe. The Sentinelese might be the only people currently known to not have reached further than a Paleolithic level of technology, however, this is disputed, as evidence of metalwork was found on their island.


The original inhabitants of Andaman & Nicobar Islands lived in the forests on hunting and fishing. There are four Negrito tribes; viz., the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinalese in the Andaman group of islands and and the Nicobarese and Shompens in the Nicobar group.

Around 50 percent of the population is made up of settlers from the mainland India, some people call Andamans as a Little India or a mini-India. The settlers or ancestors of these settlers came either prior to 1947 or after 1947.

Some of important Wildlife Sanctuaries & National Parks in ANI

  • Interview Island Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Landfall Island Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Galathea National Park
  • Saddle Peak National Park
  • Campbell Bay National Park
  • Mount Harriet National Park
  • Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
  • North Button Island National Park
  • Cuthbert Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Rutland Island
  • Lohabarrack Salt Water Crocodile Sanctuary
  • Barren Island Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Dil Sanctuary

Economy of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have immense collection of natural recourses. The fishing industry supports a major portion of the economy of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Besides agriculture is also a major revenue-earning source for the peasants of that island.

The hilly and plain agricultural lands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are important source of income for the rural people of those areas. Seasonal vegetables, oilseeds, pulses, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon are some special crops cultivated there. Even the economy at Andaman and Nicobar Islands to some extent, depends on the red oil, rubber, palm and cashew nut that are grown here marginally.

Other major industries that are also a big contributor to the Andaman and Nicobar islands economy include its handicrafts industry, minerals and energy resources. Even tourism is a big industry for the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This land is full of natural beauties and the exotic collection of flora and fauna, which attract tourists worldwide. The innumerable tourist spots of Andaman and Nicobar islands support the tourism industry of the place.

The island abounds with lush green forests that are a storehouse of some rare variety of floras. As a result the timber industry have come up into the island. Woodcrafts are very beautiful that also plays a considerable role in the economy of Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Economy in Andaman and Nicobar Islands depend wholly on all the above factors.

Developmental Plans for ANI

  • Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance : In March 2021, for the first time, Japan’s government approved a grant aid of approximately ₹265 crore toward developmental projects in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
    • It is Japan’s first Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) initiative toward the islands.

  • ANI as a Maritime and Startup Hub: In August, 2020 the Prime Minister had declared that the Andaman and Nicobar islands will be developed as a “maritime and startup hub
    • 12 islands of the archipelago have been selected for high-impact projects with an emphasis on boosting trade of sea-based, organic and coconut-based products of the region

  • NITI Aayog’s Project for Great Nicobar: Great Nicobar is the southernmost island of the Nicobar Islands Archipelago.
    • The proposal includes an international container trans-shipment terminal, a greenfield international airport, a power plant and a township complex spread over 166 sq. km. (mainly pristine coastal systems and tropical forests).

  • NITI Aayog’s Proposal for Little Andaman: The plan involves building a new greenfield coastal city that will be developed as a free trade zone and will compete with Singapore and Hong Kong.


Issues Faced by ANI

  • Lack of Connectivity: The island groups, specially the Little Andaman Island, have little connectivity with the Indian mainland and global cities.
  • Geological Volatility: The island’s groups lie in a seismically highly active zone.
    The 2004 earthquake and accompanying tsunami devastated large parts of the island chain.
    Nicobar and Car Nicobar (northernmost Nicobar island) lost almost one-fifth of its population and close to 90% of its mangroves.
  • Declining Population: The population of native communities like the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and North Sentinelese has plummeted from 1,999 to 550 since 1901 to 2011.
    • Massive projects, epidemics and crippling health crises in the ecologically fragile Little Andaman Island have led to near-extinction of the Onge tribe.
    • The developmental project proposed by NITI Aayog for Little Andaman includes de-reserving 32% of the reserved forest and denotifying 31% of the tribal reserve thus rendering the habitations of the tribal groups at risk.
  • Aspects of Blue Economy: The primary issues facing island nations in the Indian Ocean are related to the key aspects of the Blue Economy.
    • Sustainable development, illegal fishing, disaster management, the climate crisis, renewable energy and issues of waste management impacts both tourism as well as ecosystems specific to islands.
  • Development and Biodiversity: A slew of infrastructure projects have been proposed in ANI to give a major boost to tourism and business.
    • While this may transform the islands substantially, it would also cause loss of biodiversity and have a negative impact on the indigenous people.
    • The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Committee, granted the clearance for the infrastructural projects on the condition that all large, medium, and small trees will be counted and geo-referenced and not felled.
      • However, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO) is seeking an amendment to this clause so that trees may be felled if required

Source: PIB

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