13 Dec COCO ISLAND GS- 2 INTERNATIONAL RELATION, BILATERAL RELATION
COCO ISLAND GS- 2 INTERNATIONAL RELATION, BILATERAL RELATION- Today Current Affairs
Coco islands are a small group of islands located in the North-eastern part of Bay of Bengal. It is situated 30 miles North to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands group of India, to 250 km south of the Burmese mainland and 1255 km south-east of Kolkata.
North of this Island group lies Preparis Island also belonging to Myanmar, and to the South lies the land for Island belonging to India.
Coco Island group consists of four islands on the great Coco reef and another Rai Coco island on the little Coco reef.
History of Coco island: The Hindu Analysis
The islands were first discovered by Portuguese sailors. The name is Coco Island because of the majority of coconut trees being there.
In the 19th century the British government in India established a penal colony in the Andaman. Coco Island was the source of food for it and remained part of Andaman and Nicobar Island.
Due to the remoteness of the Coco islands it was difficult for the British to govern them in 1882 the britisher transferred the control of cocoa Island to the British government of Burma.
After the separation of Burma from India this Island became a self-governing crown colony in 1937.
At the eve of independence in 1947 the status of Coco Island was in Limbo just like Lakshadweep Island Andaman and Nicobar Island.
The British raj was planning to deny the free India certain strategic locations including the island of the Lakshadweep, Andaman Island and also the Coco Island.
However the statesman shape of sardar Patel saved these islands for the country as he put strong negotiation with the British and did not yield to the British pressure.
In 1969 it was in last to house an increased number of political prisoners, in 1971 after the closing of the penal colony the facilities on great coco island were transferred to the Burmese Navy.
Lease to China: The Hindu Analysis
In 1994 China got this Island only from the Myanmar military. China supposedly established SIGNIT intelligence gathering station on Great Coco Island in 1992. They have signal intelligence facilities, Maritime bases, Android facilities and military airports in these islands.
Most sea lines of communication pass through the bay of Bengal and Andaman sea. Coco Island is located at the centre of these two seas. Coco Island is situated in proximity to the strait of Malacca which is a crucial point for the global supply route of oil from the gulf. In addition to this Coco Island provides a great strategic advantage to any world power to increase its influence in the Indian ocean region.
Effect on India: The Hindu Analysis
China has established its SIGNIT(signal intelligence) facility in coco Island to monitor Indian missile launches. Deccan monitor the missile testing facility of India located at Chandipur and Kalam Island and estimate even the classified detail of the missiles. In addition to this China can even monitor the Indian naval presence and its development in the region.
China has already started working on its string of pearls theory to contain India in the region. They have already taken control of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Gwadar port in Pakistan, Chittagong port in Bangladesh and have won the right of the Kyaukpyu port project in Myanmar. Along with all these strategic ports, Coco Island gives them Direct access to the bay of Bengal.
Can India take it back?
The Indian defence minister George Fernandes in an interview with the BBC in 2003, had stated that prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had “donated” the Coco Island to Burma in the 1950 and the surrender of vital strategic assets. Many other reports also claimed that the Indian government had gifted the Coco Island to Myanmar in 1950. If we had gifted these islands, then definitely we can send our military and can take over land back, because India can blame myanmar that these islands are helping China To do anti Indian activities and India had gifted these Island to the the government of Myanmar for its own use not for giving it on lease to the third party like China so we can take it back.
Way forward- Today Current Affairs
India needs to understand the strategic importance of the Andaman sea and needs to develop the infrastructure in the Andaman to make it a strong military and economic hub in the IOR.
It is already home to a tri service command of the Indian armed forces. But the development and proper utilisation of this Island are still an issue.
Radar station in the narcondam island and also need a push at appropriate level.