Islands to be used for India’s safety


New Delhi: A number of strategically-located islands would now be used for the purpose of the country’s security and progress is being made on that front. A fortnight back, when the first meeting of the Islands Development Authority (IDA), chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, was held, not many took note of it.

The newly-constituted IDA was set up in June this year following a series of review meetings by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which top security experts were involved. So far, these islands were only promoted as tourist spots and ecological conservation efforts but now an important purpose has been added to it —strategic security. The new body thus has a former naval chief, Admiral D.K. Joshi as its vice-chairman and for the first time, detailed Master Plans and Concept Development Plans are being prepared by NITI Aayog.

When Modi came to power three years ago, among the new initiatives that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) undertook involved the counting of these islands and preparing maps about their exact location. Clearly, the PM had something in mind when he wanted the details of these water-logged land pieces.

Sources close to the PMO said that Modi asked the Bengaluru-based ISRO to get all the details of these scattered islands – small and big. They included Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Sundarbans and those on the western coasts. Now, an exhaustive list of 1,268 islands is in the hands of the PMO. IDA has been asked to develop some of them as strategic base for military and naval operations, sources said.

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