Port Blair, Jan. 12: The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee was hosted a Civic Reception by the Port Blair Municipal Council at Netaji Stadium at Port Blair today (January 11, 2014).

Speaking on the occasion, the President said his visit to Andaman and Nicobar Islands is an opportunity to pay homage to freedom fighters who in this hallowed territory underwent great hardship and suffering to secure India’s independence. He said the National Memorial, the Cellular Jail bears testimony to the sacrifices made by them.  It stands as a symbol of the burning patriotism of many freedom fighters who spent their youthful lives here in incarceration.

The President said Andaman and Nicobar Islands lie at the important junction of South Asia and South East Asia. Around 30 percent of India's Exclusive Economic Zone and concomitant marine resources are around these Islands. These Islands are not only the maritime gateway to the Bay of Bengal but also overlook major international sea routes. These islands have the potential to be a spring board for India's engagement with South East Asia and the Pacific region. They can be developed as a significant trading, shipping and tourist hub.

The President said the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the home of some of most precious tribal communities.  These communities are equal partners in the nation’s efforts at progress through modernization.  He said “progress must come to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands but it must come with deference to the local people, their traditions and the ecology.  People working amongst the tribals must take up the task of development with a spirit of dedication as well as a spirit of understanding and sympathy.

 Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Lt. General (Retd) AK Singh, Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), Air Marshall P K Roy , Commander in Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Commandand  and K. Ganeshan, Chairperson of Port Blair Municipal Council.


Earlier on the day the President laid a wreath at Martyr’s Column at the National Memorial Cellular Jail. (PIB)