Air Marshal Saju Balakrishnan AVSM, VM has become the new Commander-in-Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN). The Andaman and Nicobar Command is India’s only tri-services command, which makes it strategically significant. Air Marshal Balakrishnan is the 17th person to hold the position and has taken over from Lt Gen Ajai Singh.
Air Marshal Saju Balakrishnan AVSM, VM
- Air Marshal Saju Balakrishnan has taken charge as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN).
- He joined the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1986 and has flown more than 3200 hours on different types of aircraft.
- He has held various positions including being the first Commanding Officer of an AWACS Squadron.
- Before assuming the role of CINCAN, he was the Senior Air Staff Officer at the IAF Training Command in Bengaluru.
- He has been awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) for his distinguished service.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of over 500 islands located in the Bay of Bengal, about 1,000 kilometers southeast of the Indian mainland, situated between the Bay of Bengal to the west and the Andaman Sea to the east.
- The capital of the islands is Port Blair.
- The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and lush green forests.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a rich history, having been inhabited by indigenous tribes for thousands of years.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are separated by the Ten Degree Channel, which is about 150 km wide. The Ten Degree Channel is a navigable sea route that separates the Andaman Islands to the north from the Nicobar Islands to the south.
- The islands were also a strategic location for many foreign powers, including the British, who used them as a penal colony during the colonial era.
- Today, the islands are a Union Territory of India, with a population of approximately 380,000 people.
- The economy of the islands is largely dependent on tourism, fisheries, and agriculture.
- The islands are also strategically important for India’s security, with the presence of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-services command of India, which is responsible for the defense of the islands and the surrounding waters.
- Barren Island is an active volcano located in the Andaman Sea, about 135 km northeast of Port Blair.
- It is the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia and has erupted several times in recent history, with the last recorded eruption in 2018.
- Due to its volatile nature, the Indian government has declared a permanent ‘no-landing zone’ around the island to ensure the safety of both visitors and the island’s inhabitants.
- Sentinel Island, is known for its indigenous tribe, the Sentinelese, who have had little contact with the outside world and are known for their hostility towards outsiders.
- The Indian government has declared Sentinel Island a protected area and strictly prohibits any kind of contact with the tribe.
- The island gained international attention in 2018 when an American missionary was killed by the tribe while attempting to contact them.
Andaman and Nicobar Command
- The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is India’s only tri-services command, which means that it is led by officers from the three branches of the Indian Armed Forces: the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force.
- The establishment of a tri-services command allows for better coordination and integration of the capabilities of the three services to enhance their operational effectiveness in the region.
- The ANC is located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are strategically located near the Bay of Bengal and the Malacca Strait, and is responsible for the defense of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as the surrounding seas and airspace.
- The command was established in 2001 and is headed by a Commander-in-Chief (CINCAN), who is a three-star officer from any of the three services.
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