In order to boost India's position in maritime trade in the region, the Indian Government is moving the Cabinet to upgrade the Andaman and Nicobar islands port to a major port.
"We will send our proposal to the Cabinet next week for making Andaman and Nicobar port a major port," an official from the Shipping Ministry is reported to have told an Indian news agency.
On the reasons behind the move to grant "major" status to the port, the official said the government keeps reviewing the commercial and strategic importance of various ports in the country for such an upgradation.
"The Andaman and Nicobar port is becoming a significant port and is of strategic importance to India. Besides, it is closer to two international shipping lines, Saudi Arabia-Singapore and the US-Singapore," he said.
The Andaman and Nicobar port is a state-owned, minor port. India has 12 government-owned major ports and 200 minor ones, of which 20-30 are privately owned. The combined capacity of the 12 major ports is about 580 million tonnes (MT) per annum while the total capacity of minor ports is 250 MT per annum.
The official said the government will provide budgetary allocation of about Rs900 million (Dh71.57m) to the port for one year, starting next fiscal.
Besides Andaman and Nicobar, the ministry had also announced plans to make Lakshadweep a major port as part of its 100-day agenda unveiled last year after the new government took office.
However, the official said the proposal to make Lakshadweep a major port would take some more time as the Shipping Ministry is "awaiting information" from Lakshadweep authorities.
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