The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Myanmar. The archipelago consists of 572 islands, of which only 36 are inhabited. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, and are a popular tourist destination.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been under Indian control since the 18th century. However, there have been a number of territorial disputes between India and China over the islands. In the early 20th century, the islands were claimed by both Britain and Japan. After World War II, the islands were placed under Indian administration.
In recent years, there has been increased Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean, including the construction of a military base in Djibouti. This has led to concerns that China may be seeking to establish a presence in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
In November 2018, it was reported that the Chinese navy had carried out live-fire exercises in the vicinity of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Chinese navy has also been spotted in the Bay of Bengal, close to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
There are a number of reasons why China may be interested in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
First and foremost, the islands are strategic location. They are situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and they would give China a great deal of control over the shipping lanes in the region.
In addition, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to a large number of natural resources, including oil and gas reserves. These resources could be used to help fuel China's rapidly growing economy.
Finally, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also home to a large number of Indian military bases. These bases could be used to launch attacks on India, or they could be used to defend China in the event of a war.
The Indian government has taken a number of steps to bolster its presence in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In 2017, the Indian Navy commissioned its first indigenously built aircraft carrier, the Vikramaditya. The Indian Air Force has also increased its presence in the region, with the induction of the Su-30MKI fighter jets.
However, it remains to be seen whether China will make a move to claim the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. While the Chinese navy has increased its activity in the region, it is not clear whether this is part of a broader strategy to assert Chinese sovereignty over the islands.