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Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Indian ships, aircraft widen search for missing Malaysian aircraft to Bay of Bengal

India has widened the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which disappeared from the radars early on Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people board, to the Bay of Bengal at the request of the Malaysian government.

 
India has widened the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which disappeared from the radars early on Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people board, to the Bay of Bengal at the request of the Malaysian government.
 
An official press release said here today that the Malaysian authorities had requested for the extension of the search to the Bay of Bengal in area of about 9000 sq km (15 km x 600 km).
 
"This area is approximately 900 km due west of Port Blair. Search in this area would be undertaken by the resources of Eastern Naval Command," it said.
 
Earlier, the Government had deployed assets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Air Force in a coordinated search of the area in South Andaman Sea for the missing airliner, which also had five Indians and a Canadian of Indian origin among its passengers.
 
Indian Navy has been nominated as the lead service for the coordination of the operation. The joint effort is being coordinated from Maritime Operations Centre of the Indian Navy in New Delhi.
 
The release said specific areas had been allocated by the Malaysian authorities for search by Indian ships and aircraft. Presently, two ships of Indian Navy, INS Saryu and INS Kumbhir, are combing the designated areas in South Andaman Sea.
Hunt for missing jet spreads to Indian Ocean
 
INS Kesari has replaced INS Kumbhir at around 1500h today for the search as it is also carrying an integral helicopter.  In addition, two Coast Guard vessels are also carrying out search along the coastline. Two Dornier aircraft of Indian Navy and Coast Guard are also carrying out aerial search in the vicinity of the Andaman coastline.
 
The Joint Operations Room at Port Blair has been activated to monitor the progress of the search operations. The Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command has been nominated as the Overall Force Commander of the Indian Forces.
 
 
The Boeing B777-200 ER aircraft, operating flight MH370, was reported missing off the Vietnamese coast around 0240 hours Malaysian time on Saturday. 
 
The plane had departed from Kuala Lumpur at 1241 Saturday morning and was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30 am local Beijing time on the same day.
 
Over the past five days, a lot of information has been thrown up, but most of them have turned out to be false leads and a massive search operation, involving ships and aircraft from several countries, has not found any trace of the missing aircraft. India is the latest country to have joined the search efforts in its territorial waters.
 
Malaysian police have said they are looking at all kinds of possibilities, including terrorism, hijacking, sabotage, mechanical failure and passengers or crew members with personal or psychological problems.
 
The airline has deployed teams of caregivers in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, consisting of its trained staff and volunteers from NGOs to take care of families of the passengers and crew of the aircraft.
 
Over the past four days, the search and rescue teams have expanded the scope of their operations beyond the flight path to the West Peninsula of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca. 
 
"The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang. All angles are being looked at. We are not ruling out any possibilities," the airline had said in a statement on Tuesday.
 
The last known position of MH370 before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude).
 
The search and rescue mission has been joined by teams from countries such as Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, the United States of America and now India.
 
Apart from the search in the sea, search on land in between these areas is also being conducted.
 
The airline said the aircraft, was carrying a total of 239 people, comprising 227 passengers (including two infants) and 12 members of crew. 
 
According to the manifest, the Indians on the flight were identified as: Mr Vinod Kolekar, 59; Ms Chetana Kolekar, 55; Mr Swanand Kolekar, 23; Ms Chandrika Sharma, 51; and Mr Kranti Shirsath, 44. The list also includes a Canadian of Indian origin, Mr Muktesh Mukherjee, 42.
 
The passengers are of 14 different nationalities. All crew on board are Malaysians.
 
The passengers include 153 from China/Taiwan (including one infant), 38 from Malaysia, 5 Indians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, four from France, three (including an infant) from the United States, two each from Ukraine, Canada and New Zealand, and one each from Russia, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria.
 
The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53 with total flying hours of 18,365hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, 27, has total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.
 
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The families of passengers may contact +603 7884 1234 (Kuala Lumpur) / +8610 6437 6249 (Beijing), the airline said.
 
Among the latest theories is one that suggests that the aircraft could have been deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands by someone with aviation training, hundreds of km from its intended flight path.
 
Malaysia Airlines did not give out any new information today, except to say that it would continue to cooperate with the search and rescue mission being coordinated by the Department of Civil Aviation under the Ministry of Transport.
 
"Malaysia Airlines is fully aware of the on-going media speculations and we have nothing further to add to the information we have already provided," it said.
 
"The aircraft is still missing, and the search area is expanding," Malaysia's acting Minister of Transport Hishamuddin Hussein told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
 
"We are now pushing further into the South China Sea, and further into Indian Ocean," he said.
 
Mr Hussein said as many as 57 ships and 48 aircraft from 13 countries were involved in the search efforts. "Our priority remains finding the plane," he said.
 
He said investigating teams would not release any information until it had been properly verified and corroborated.
 
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Indian Navy's fourth Landing Craft Utility MK-IV commissioned at Port Blair

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The Indian Navy's fourth Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV class was commissioned and inducted into the force by Vice Admiral G S Pabby, Chief of Material at Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands yesterday.
 
The ship, IN LCU L54, has been indigenously designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, an official press release said.
 
"The commissioning of L-54 is yet another manifestation of the country’s indigenous design and ship building capability," it said.
 
LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship with its primary role being transportation and deployment of main battle tanks (MBTs), armoured vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. These ships based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command, can be deployed for multi-role activities like beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands, the release said.
 
The ship, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Munish Sethi, has a complement of five officers and 41 sailors and is capable of carrying 160 troops in addition. The ship, displacing 830 tons, is capable of transporting various kinds of combat equipment such as the main tattle tank, T72 and other vehicles. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
 
The remaining four ships of the same class are in advanced stages of construction at GRSE and are scheduled to be inducted over the next year and a half. 
 
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Two minor earthquakes jolt Nicobar Islands region

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Two earthquakes of slight intensity, measuring 4.9 and 4.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
An IMD bulletin said the first quake, measuring 4.9, occurred at 2350  hours yesterday at a focal depth of 10 km, with its epicente at latitude 07.0°N and longitude 94.0°E.
 
The second tremor, measuring 4.7, had its epicentre at latitude 6.9°N and longitude 94.5°E, occurred at 0015 hours today at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Rs 650 crore investment expected in Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep Islands

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The Restricted Area Permit regime will be relaxed for tourism promotion and investment worth Rs 650 crore is expected in various projects in Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) and Lakshadweep islands.  
 
This was revealed at the third meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA) chaired by  Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here yesterday.
 
The meeting reviewed the progress made towards preparation of Development Plans for identified Islands (four in A&N Islands-- Smith, Ross, Long, Avis and five in Lakshadweep -- Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam, Suheli), an official press release said.
 
For these Islands, Final Site Suitability Reports have been prepared, Carrying Capacity determined and Environmental zoning carried out to ensure sustainable development.
 
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant made a detailed presentation of action taken in pursuance of decisions taken in earlier meetings. The Union Home Minister expressed satisfaction at the progress made since the meeting held on November 8, 2017, when directions were given to identify additional Islands for sustainable development and also accord priority to key infrastructure projects.
 
NITI Aayog, in consultation with the UT Administrations has identified additional islands or locations for planning of suitable projects aimed at creation of more jobs for the Islanders. Community-based tourism will also be promoted.
 
Of these locations, 12 are in Andaman and Nicobar -- North Passage, Cinque, Inglis, Viper, Neil (Bharatpur Beach), Ramnagar Beach, Karmatang Beach, Dhaninallah Beach, Kalipur Beach, Rutland, North Bay and Great Nicobar - B Quarry. Five are in Lakshadweep-- Kalpeni, Kadmat, Agatti, Chetlat and Bitra.
 
Key infrastructure projects such as creation of jetties/berthing facilities, Roll-on/Roll-off ships; Bridges on Andaman Trunk Road;, upgrading of Diglipur Airport and  construction of Minicoy Airport were being given priority, the release said.
 
Modernization of existing jetty at Kavaratti, augmentation of satellite bandwidth from 1.118 Gbps to 2.118 Gbps in Andaman & Nicobar, augmentation of helicopter services for islanders and tourists, and so on, also figure in the same list.
 
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With better communication services, Information Technology based and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) would be promoted in the islands, it said.
 
Further, after carrying out systematic study, 18 projects, both in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, have been identified for implementation, out of which seven are ready for launch through PPP.
 
Three such projects in Andaman & Nicobar (one each in Long, Smith and Ayes Island) and three in Lakshadweep (one each in Suheli, Minicoy and Kadamat) are ready to be launched, the release said.
 
After implementation of these projects, an investment of about Rs. 650 crore is expected from the private sector. Preference would be given to the local people for employment. An investors' conference would be held in May this year, it said.
 
The Minister called upon all concerned to expedite implementation of ongoing key infrastructure projects in the islands, particularly for improving air, road and web connectivity, providing good quality drinking water to the residents and power supply.
 
He directed that designs of these projects be made in such a way to provide maximum benefits to the local population. He observed that development of Islands was first discussed in 1999 and now it was taking concrete shape. He appreciated collective efforts being made by all the Ministries for holistic and sustainable development of Islands.
 
The meeting was attended by Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Administrator of Lakshadweep, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
 
Secretary Defence, Secretary Tourism, Secretary, Tribal Affairs and other Senior Officers of Central Ministries of Tourism, Power, Defence, Health, Telecommunications and Civil Aviation also attended.
 
Vice-Chief of Naval Staff and Air Commodore from Indian Air Force were also present.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 6.8°N and longitude 93.5°E, occurred at 1009 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Andaman & Nicobar Command to host Milan 2018

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The Andaman & Nicobar Command will host Milan 2018, a congregation of littoral navies conductd biennially by  the Indian Navy, in the second week of March.
 
Besides fostering co-operation through naval exercises and professional interactions, Milan also provides an excellent opportunity to the participating navies to come together in a spirit of collaboration and mutual understanding to nurture stronger ties, a press release from the Ministry of Defence said.
 
Milan made modest beginnings more than two decades ago when it was first held in 1995. The first edition saw participation of four littoral navies. 
 
"The event achieved strident success during the ensuing years owing to high standards of professional content of the event. The growing participation over the years bears testimony to the success of this multilateral initiative. From an event of sub- regional context, Milan has now grown into a prestigious international event and encompasses participation by maritime forces from not just the Bay of Bengal and South East Asia but the larger Indian Ocean Region (lOR)," it said.
 
The release said Milan 2018 will be held at Port Blair from March 6-13. With the underlying theme of 'Friendship Across the Seas', the event will witness a diverse mix of professional exercises and seminars, social events and sporting fixtures. 
 
The interactions during Milan will encompass sharing of views and ideas on maritime good - order and enhancing regional cooperation for combating unlawful activities at sea.  The theme of this year’s Milan International Maritime Seminar is ‘In Pursuit of Maritime Good Order - Need for Comprehensive Information Sharing Apparatus’.
 
The inaugural address will be delivered by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), besides presentations by eminent speakers. The social interactions planned during Milan include display by bands of the Indian Navy and Indian Army, ship visits and colorful cultural evenings.  Several events of Milan will be open to the public including displays by sky diving team, beating the retreat and Naval continuity drill.  
 
An International City Parade will be held along the Marina Park Road, with marching contingents from all participating foreign naval ships as well as the Indian Armed Forces.  The parade will include a flypast and aerobatic display by military aircraft and demonstrations of various military operations.  Besides, visiting foreign ships will also be open for visits by school children and local public. Milan 2018 will culminate with Passage Exercise at sea by all participating naval ships.
 
Milan 2018 also aims to showcase the rich heritage and pristine natural beauty of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the foreign visitors, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 6.1°N and longitude 92.6°E, occurred at 1726 hours at a focal depth of 35 km.
 
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Moderate earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 8.3°N and longitude 91.7°E, occurred at 0918 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An  earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 12.2°N and longitude 92.3°E, occurred at 2118 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 6.6°N and longitude 95.2°E, occurred at 0127 hours at a focal depth of 198 km.
 
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Moderate earthquake jolts Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region tonight.
 
A bulletin  from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 10.0°N and longitude 93.1°E, occurred at 2128 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An  earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on  the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region late last night.
 
A bulletin from the India  Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 93.7°E, occurred at 2219 hours yesterday at a focal depth of 116 km.
 
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Depression over Bay of Bengal may reach north AP, south Odisha coasts on Saturday morning

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The depression over southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts around December 9 morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
In a bulletin issued at 1130 hours today, IMD said the depression had moved northwards with a speed of about 35 kmph during past six hours and lay centred at 0830 hrs IST of today near latitude 12.0º N and longitude 88.0 ºE, about 870 km southeast of Gopalpur and 875 km to the east-southeast of Machillipatnam. 
 
"The system is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts around 9th December morning. The system is likely to intensify further into a deep depression during the next 24 hours.
 
"However, there is a probability of slight weakening of the system when it reaches near north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts," the bulletin said.
 
Under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall was very likely at most places over Andaman Islands and at a few places over Nicobar Islands during the next 24 hours.
 
Rainfall was also very likely at most places over north Andhra Pradesh on December 8-9, over Odisha during December 8-10 and over coastal districts of West Bengal on December 8, with isolated heavy falls.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, were very likely over and around Andaman Islands during the next 24 hours and decrease thereafter, the bulletin said.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, very likely to prevail along and off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts from today evening to December 9 morning and will decrease thereafter, it said.
 
Sea conditions would be rough to very rough around Andaman Islands during the next 24 hours. Sea conditions would be rough to very rough along and off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts from today evening to December 9 morning, the bulletin said.
 
Fishermen along and off Andaman Islands were advised not to venture into sea till the forenoon of tomorrow and fishermen along and off Nicobar Islands were advised not to venture into deep sea during the same period.
 
Fishermen along and off north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts were advised not to venture into deep sea today and tomorrow. Fishermen along and off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts were advised not to venture into sea till December 9 morning.
 
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Cyclone Ockhi weakens, heads towards south Gujarat, north Maharashtra

Photo:IMD
Photo:IMD
Even as cyclone Ockhi over eastcentral Arabian Sea is gradually weakening and moving towards South Gujarat and north Maharashtra,  a well-marked low pressure area has developed over southeast Bay of Bengal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
 
A bulletin issued by IMD at 1620 hours today said Ockhi had moved further north-northeastwards with with a speed of 13 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 1430 hours IST near latitude 15.2º N and longitude 69.0º E, about 590 km southwest of Mumbai and 770 km south-southwest of Surat. 
 
"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by the night of tomorrow, the 5th December 2017," it said.
 
The bulletin said heavy rainfall was light to moderate rainfall was very likely at a few places over Saurashtra and south Gujarat region today. Light to moderate rainfall was very likely at most places over Saurashtra and south Gujarat (Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir- Somnath, Bhavnagar, Diu, Daman, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli districts) tomorrow with heavy rainfall at isolated places, and light to moderate rainfall at many places in the two regions on December 6.
 
According to it, light to moderate rainfall was very likely over north Konkan, including Mumbai, in Maharashtra today. Light to moderate rainfall was also likely at most places over north Konkan (Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts) tomorrow, with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, were very likely along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts from today from tonight to December 6 morning.
 
Sea conditions would be rough to very rough along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts from tonight till December 6 morning, the bulletin said.
 
The IMD advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts from today till December 6 morning.
 
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The bulletin said the low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman Sea was very likely to become a depression during the next 24 hours and further intensify into a deep depression during the subsequent 48 hours. It is very likely to move west-northwestwards towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next three days, it said.
 
According to it, rainfall was very likely at most places over Andaman Islands over Andaman Islands during the next three days, with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
Rainfall was also very likely at many places over north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha on December 7 and 8, it said.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 30-40 kmph, gusting to 50 kmph, were likely around Nicobar Islands today and 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, on December 5 and 6 and would decrease thereafter.
 
Sea condition would be rough to very rough around Nicobar Islands during December 4 to 6.
 
Fishermen along and off Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea during this period. Similarly, fishermen along and off the Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts were advised not to venture into the sea from December 6 to 8.
 
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Joint Special Forces Training Camp in Andaman and Nicobar Islands witness special operations

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Various Special Operations training events were carried out during the Joint Special Forces Training Camp held in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands earlier this month, including Special Heliborne Operations, reflex firing drills, survival training and anti-terrorist operations.
 
The Joint Special Forces Training Camp is conducted annually under the aegis of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff with a view to furthering integration between the Services in the field of Special Operations.
          
This year, the exercise was conducted from November 4 to 22 involving 60 Special Forces personnel from the three Services. The supporting assets included C-17, C-130 AN-32 and Dornier aircraft, Sea King and MI-17 V5 helicopters and amphibious ships. The final tactical exercise was dovetailed into DANX exercise of the three Services, which was also conducted at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at the same time period, an official press release said.
 
The highlight of the exercise was the airborne insertion of Marine Commandoes at sea in tandem with Combat Expendable Platform drops with inflatable Gemini craft from C-130 aircraft at night along with Combat Free Fall and Special Heli-borne Operations by the Special Forces personnel, the release added.
 
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Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Exercise concludes

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The five-day Defence of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Exercise (DANX), conducted under the aegis of the Andaman & Nicobar Command concluded here today.
 
From the planning stage onwards, a joint and integrated approach was adopted for synergistic application of forces, an official press release said.
 
The main objective of the exercise was to practise and validate procedures and drills of all the Command forces aimed at defending Andaman & Nicobar Islands.  Accretional forces from the mainland including fighters, Special Forces, Naval ships and heavy-lift transport aircraft participated in the exercise.
 
The highlights of the exercise were fighter ops, night para jumps at sea, slithering of troops from helicopters and amphibious landings of troops by ships.  
 
After the exercise, the Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command applauded all the four components for their planning and precise execution of the Command plans and urged all to focus on the takeaways from the exercise for being fully prepared for any eventuality in the future.
 
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Island Development Agency approves holistic development of nine islands

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday reviewed the concept development plans and detailed master plans for the holistic development of nine islands.
 
Of these islands, four are in Andaman & Nicobar Islands -- Smith, Ross, Long and Avis -- and five in Lakshadweep -- Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam and Suheli, an official press release said.
 
 The project, steered by NITI Aayog, aims at promoting and implementing development based on a sustainable approach to building a thriving maritime economy of the project islands. 
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh, chairing the meeting,  expressed satisfaction at the progress made since the previous meeting on July 24 when directions were given to identify and execute infrastructure and connectivity projects together with provisioning of water and electricity. 
 
The meeting noted that site development potential reports have clearly mapped and delineated environmentally sensitive zones in the project islands and considering the unique maritime and territorial bio-diversity of the islands, enhanced connectivity has been recommended as one of the key priorities. 
 
Accordingly, it was decided that the Naval air station at Shibpur near Diglipur in northern Andaman & Nicobar Islands would be co-used as Joint User Airport. 
 
During the meeting, it was also decided to develop a PPP package, including an airport (Joint User Airport) at Minicoy Island, to unlock the tourism potential.  It was agreed to promote tuna fishing industry for improving livelihoods in Lakshadweep. 
 
Mr Rajnath Singh directed all concerned to expedite implementation of ongoing key infrastructure projects in the islands and develop community-based tourism in consultation with local stakeholders. 
 
NITI Aayog was also asked to drive the formulation of PPP projects and proposed detailed guidelines to boost private sector participation.
 
The IDA was set up on June 1, 2017, following the Prime Minister’s review meeting for the holistic development of islands.
 
The meeting was attended by Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Admiral D.K. Joshi, former Navy Chief (Vice Chairman of IDA), Cabinet Secretary P. K. Sinha, CEO, NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Secretary, Environment, Forest & Climate Change, C. K. Mishra and representatives of Ministries of Tourism, Power, Defence, Health, Telecommunications and Civil Aviation.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 14.1°N and longitude 92.7°E, occurred at 2350 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 6.3°N and longitude 92.9°E, occurred at 1953 horus at a focal depth of 30 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Sitharaman visits Andaman & Nicobar Command

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, arrived here today on a two-day visit to the Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC).
 
She was received at INS Utkrosh by Lieutenant Governor Admiral (Retd) D K Joshi and Commander-in-Chief, ANC, Vice-Admiral Bimal Verma.
 
On arrival, she was accorded a joint Services guard of honour by the troops of Andaman & Nicobar Command. Subsequently, during her visit to the Headquarters, ANC, the Minister was given a comprehensive briefing on the security environment and thrust areas of the command, an official press release added.
 
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Sitharaman to visit Andaman & Nicobar Command

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will pay a two-day visit to the Andaman & Nicobar Command on October 18-19.
 
An official press release said here today that, on her maiden visit to the Command, Ms. Sitharaman would celebrate Diwali with troops and interact with their families during various events over the two days.
 
Ms. Sitharaman will visit the operational area of the Command and Air Force Station Car Nicobar. She will also wreaths at the Swatantra Jyoti in Cellular Jail and Tsunami Memorial at Car Nicobar, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 12.6°N and longitude 91.9°E, occurred at 0102 hours at a focal depth 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in North Andaman Sea

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the North Andaman Sea this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 95.2°E, occurred at 1930 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Rajnath, Gadkari, on two-day visit to Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari will lay the foundation for several national highways and shipping projects worth about Rs 1321 crore during their two-day visit to Andaman & Nicobar islands today and tomorrow.
 
They will lay the foundation stone for four National Highways projects worth Rs 1121 crore and several shipping projects worth Rs 200 crore at Port Blair, Diglipur and Baratang today and tomorrow, an official press release said.
 
The highways projects for which foundation stone will be laid include construction of 26 km of NH between Beodnabad- Ferrargunj at a cost of Rs 170 crore and 56 km of NH between Austin Creek and Kalra Junction at a cost of Rs 410 crore.
 
In addition, foundation stone will be laid for construction of Middle Strait Creek Bridge and Humphrey Strait Creek Bridge at an estimated cost of Rs 262.97 crore and Rs 277.17 crore, respectively.
 
Work is also in various stages of progress for other highway projects. National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) is handling highways work amounting to Rs 6330 crore in A&N Islands. Much of these works pertain to rehabilitation and up-gradation of NH-4.
 
On the shipping side, an alternate sea route to Baratang Island will be launched. The project has been completed at a cost of Rs 45.16 crore and aims to improve connectivity of the island from Port Blair, reduce traffic on the route which passes through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve, thus promoting tourism without disturbing the tribal areas. 
 
The Ministers will also lay the foundation stone for extension of wharf in Hope Town, Port Blair by 200 meters at an expenditure of Rs 17.49 crore. The wharf is used by Indian Oil Corporation for discharging LPG and other petroleum products.
 
The extension of jetty would allow berthing of bigger vessels of upto 160 meter length and higher capacity. This will help in increasing availability of LPG cylinders in the area while reducing logistic costs. In addition to this, foundation stone will also be laid for construction of Additional Approach Jetty, an extension of Berthing Jetty  and dredging in front of jetty, Neil Island at a cost of Rs. 38.19 crore and extension of existing New Dry Dock – II in Port Blair at a cost of Rs 96.24 crore.
 
Shipping facilities in the inter-island sector are being augmented. New vessels are being constructed across various categories at a total cost of about Rs 1350 crore. In all, 25 ships are proposed for acquisition by the A&N Administration, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 12.9°N and longitude 91.9°E, occurred at 0501 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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