India-Indonesia hold dialogue on boosting Sabang Port infrastructure

India and SE Asia’s maritime neighbor Indonesia have agreed to promote maritime connectivity initiatives between the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Indonesian island of Aceh, the port of Sabang, where New Delhi envisions an economic and strategic presence.

A recent high-level meeting between New Delhi and Jakarta agreed to increase opportunities for interaction between business chambers and potential investors on both sides, officials said.

During the meeting, the heads of delegation took stock of the progress and challenges in developing connectivity between the Andamans and Aceh. To unleash the economic potential of ANI and Aceh, the two sides also discussed ways to further promote trade, tourism and people-to-people relations between the two regions, and the status of infrastructure projects related to the strategically located ports of Sabang and the surrounding areas.

Sabang is 710 km southeast of the Andaman Islands and less than 500 km from the entrance to the Straits of Malacca, through which more than 40% of India’s trade passes. The Strait of Malacca is one of six choke points or narrow channels along widely used sea lanes around the world. They are crucial for global energy security due to the large volume of oil transported through the narrow straits. An enormous amount of oil flows through the Straits of Malacca from West Asia to large parts of the Indo-Pacific region.

As international tourism recovered after the pandemic, the two sides agreed to promote sailing tourism, cruise ship visits and interaction between tourism operators, the officials added. Considering the region’s rich marine resources, the Port Blair meeting also agreed to cooperate in capacity building of fisheries operators and learn from each other’s experience.

The meeting also discussed ways to improve academic cooperation and cultural ties between the Andamans and Aceh.

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