By Kaswar Klasra
Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep are the group of islands in Indian Ocean which were given to India as per the provisions of Indian Independence Act 1947 by British Government. British kept these islands with them till 1950 when the group of islands were handed over to India instead of giving Pakistan its share.
After six years appreciating the upcoming political danger with regard to unjust distribution of islands, India declared these Islands as Union Territory in 1956 . As far as Lakshadweep islands are concerned Muslim majority island were handed over to India instead of Pakistan by ignoring the Muslim majority right.
Andaman Nicobar Islands Group
India, consisting of two groups of islands at the southeastern edge of the Bay of Bengal. The peaks of a submerged mountain range, the Andaman Islands and their neighbours to the south, the Nicobar Islands, form an arc stretching southward for some 620 miles (1,000 km) between Myanmar (Burma) and the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.
The arc constitutes the boundary between the Bay of Bengal to the west and the Andaman Sea to the east. Port Blair (on South Andaman Island) is the territorial capital. 500 Cannibals called as Jawar were the inhabitants of Andaman Nicobar Islands and are still living there as per their life style and are protected by the govt. Total area of islands is 8250 sq km with 572 Islands out of which Nicobar consists of 247. 37 out of 349 Islands are inhabited Andaman Islands are divided into North, Middle, Lower and Little Andaman with port Blair as capital while the deserted Nicobar Island is divided into Car, Little and Great Nicobar.
Danish people came to these islands in Dec 1755. British East India Company established Jail in 1906 to punish the Indians for taking part in 1857 War of Independence. The islands were captured by Japanese during the WW-II which were given army of Subhas Chandra Bose to fight the British later British recaptured these in October 1947.
During the independence of both Burma and India in 1948 and 1947 respectively Colonist government of England proclaimed their plan to resettle all Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmese on these islands which did not happen and all islands were given to India instead of dividing those between Pakistan and India. In order to avoid a possible political turmoil; because of unjust division of these islands India declared it as Union Territory in 1956 which is controlled by Lieutenant Governor.
India has based a big force with 33 ships and announced that India will develop it with more a more modern force supported by US against Chinese Naval development in Indian Ocean Region by dominating ‘Six’ and ‘Ten’ degree channels west of Malacca Strait . Military base in Nicobar Archipelago is improving Indian naval position in Indian Ocean. India is improving defence facilities on these islands since the 1985.
The islands now have a key position in India’s strategic role in the Bay of Bengal and the Malacca Strait. Indian Governments felt insecure and in order to avoid the political turmoil the islands were declared as Union Territory in 1956 as Modi Government has recently declared Kashmir and Laddakh as Union Territories in Aug 2019.
Insecurity persistent that even after more than half a century during his visit to Andaman Island in Dec 2018 Indian Premier Modi changed the names of following Islands to Hindu names by changing the Christian names ; Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
Nicobar Archipelago being geographically closer to Pakistan and being deserted one should be handed over to Pakistan.
Lakshadweep is an island group 200 to 440 km off the southwestern Indian coast tip. The archipelago is administered as a union territory and district of India. They were also known as the Laccadive Islands, though physically this is only the name of the central subgroup of the archipelago. Islands are the smallest Union Territory of India with total surface area of 32 sq. km. Lagoon covers 4,200 sq. km, the territorial waters are 20,000 sq. km and the exclusive economic zone area 400,000 sq. km.
Population of Lakshadweep Archipelago is 65,998 out of which Muslims are 96.58 per cent and Hindus are 2.77 per cent. The region was then ruled by Tipu Sultan. After his death in 1799, most of the region passed on to the British and with their departure once again Muslim dominated area was handed over to India without even asking the choice of out of which almost 98 per cent Muslim inhabitants.
Indian Politician Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had the apprehensions that it could have been easily attacked by Pakistan at the time of partition. Indian Navy troops hoisted the Indian flag. Apart from being a Muslim majority area, it was also a Muslim governed princely state which should have been given the right to join India or Pakistan but the right was snatched from the Muslims once again and the land of Tipu Sultan was handed over.