Noting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are strategically located for trade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday the region is going to be developed as a "maritime and startup hub" as he highlighted his government's development initiatives for it.
At an interaction with BJP workers from the region a day before he is to inaugurate a submarine optical fibre cable between Chennai and these group of islands, he said it will boost Internet connectivity in a big way.
The region would no longer face any problem in getting virtually connected to the outside world, the prime minister said.
The BJP has projected the inauguration of the submarine optical fibre as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands turning "digitally independent" on August 10.
The region will play an important role in his government's self-reliant India project and the growth of new India, the prime minister said while highlighting the Andaman archipelago's significance in India's freedom movement.
Asserting that his government has worked to bring development across the country, PM Modi said balanced progress is necessary for building a new India.
He said 12 islands of the Andaman archipelago have been selected for high-impact projects with an emphasis on boosting trade of sea-based, organic and coconut-based products of the region.
About the proposed transhipment hub in the Andamans, the prime minister said it will help the group of islands become an important centre of blue economy and a maritime and startup hub.
Over 300 km of national highway in the region is expected to be completed in record time, he said, adding his government is working to improve air connectivity within these islands and between them and the rest of the country.
PM Modi also referred to the ongoing work to expand the Port Blair airport and connect some of these islands with seaplanes.
He said on one hand, his government has been working to bring basic facilities like toilet, houses and cooking gas to the masses and on the other, it has also focussed on mega and modern projects.
Noting that his government has brought in more education facilities, including law and medical colleges, to the region, PM Modi asked BJP workers to inform the masses about the changes the central government has ushered in and how things were earlier.
He asked BJP worked to emphasise on cleanliness, which he said was very important for a tourist centre like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and praised their work to bring relief to people during the crisis posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
On the occasion, BJP president J P Nadda hailed the prime minister for his work in dealing with the pandemic. Daily testing has risen to 5 lakh from 1,500 earlier, he said.
BJP workers distributed over seven crore face covers, 22.18 crore food packets and 5.04 crore ration kits among the needy during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, Mr Nadda said.
Andaman and Nicobar BJP leader Vishal Jolly highlighted high COVID-19 infection rate among the local population and said many health centres may close due to doctors and paramedical staff getting infected. He praised the development works brought about by the Centre to the region.
Local BJP leaders spoke about the relief work undertaken by the party as the prime minister listened to them and later praised their efforts.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)