The Great Nicobar ‘Holistic Development’ Project aims at fostering socio-economic growth to build a sustainable future in the southernmost island of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago in India via developing various sectors including infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, healthcare, and education, with an emphasis on environmental conservation. There are four components of the project: a “Greenfield City”, an International Transhipment Port (ITP), a Greenfield International Airport, a power plant, and a new township that would constitute a Special Economic Zone. Great Nicobar’s development was first proposed in the 1970s, and its significance for strengthening regional stability and national security has been emphasised over and over again. This imperative has recently taken on a lot more urgency as a result of rising Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific and Bay of Bengal.
The project strives to enhance regional and international connectivity paving the way for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region via attracting shipping lines and cargo operators. The project is significant for defence, strategy, national security, and the general public, as under the operational control of the Indian navy, a joint military-civil, dual-use airport will be built. To cater to the tourists urban amenities such as roads, public transport, water supply and waste management facilities have been planned.
One of the key components of the Great Nicobar ‘Holistic Development’ Project is to build a Mega International Container Transhipment Port (ICTP) at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island with the objective to improve economic opportunities to incorporate all types of vessels. In the first phase, it is expected that it will handle more than four million containers annually though the estimated capacity for the long run is 16 million containers per year. The expected investment for the project is INR 41,000 crore (USD 5 billion) from both the government and private concessionaires. Great Nicobar, situated midway between Port Klang and Singapore in the southeast and Colombo in the southwest, is located close to the East-West International Shipping Corridor, which is used for a significant portion of the global shipping trade which will in turn enhance India’s strategic presence in the Indian Ocean, enabling the country to exercise greater control over sea lanes, bolster maritime security, and safeguard its economic interests. It holds the potential to become a hub for cargo ships travelling on this route.
In conclusion, the project provides a blueprint for sustainable progress, environmental preservation, and inclusive growth with a prime focus on infrastructure development, tourism promotion, agriculture, healthcare, and education that will pave the way for a sustainable future for the island. One of the key components of the project, The International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) will enhance connectivity thereby promoting regional integration, socio-economic upliftment, and environmental sustainability.