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PM Modi’s Lakshadweep Visit Puts Spotlight on Islands’ Tourism Potential

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Jan 6, 2024

Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his two-day trip to Lakshadweep on Friday, January 6th, drawing widespread interest to the serene archipelago’s tourism potential. His visit included the inauguration of various development projects as well as outdoor activities like snorkeling that grabbed national attention.

Launch of Development Schemes

The Prime Minister unveiled projects worth over Rs 1,156 crore during the Lakshadweep visit. This includes a solar power plant, a fiber optic submarine cable for boosting internet connectivity, a sea cucumber hatchery, and various fishing harbor renovations.

The 10 MW solar power project with a battery energy storage system in Kavaratti is the first of its kind for Lakshadweep. Built at a cost of Rs 64 crore, it will make the island energy self-sufficient by meeting 90% of its electricity demands. The Kochi-Lakshadweep submarine fiber cable, costing Rs 1,072 crore, will provide reliable high-speed internet connectivity.

In his speech, PM Modi asserted that these infrastructure boosts will expand opportunities for the islanders in sectors like seaweed farming and fisheries. It will also aid the promotion of tourism, a vital part of Lakshadweep’s economy.

Outreach to Muslim-Majority Islands

Lakshadweep is India’s only Muslim majority Union Territory with over 96% following Islam. The Prime Minister’s visit is therefore being seen as an outreach to the community ahead of the 2024 national elections.

He praised the islands’ pluralistic ethos and commended the residents’ discipline and law-abiding ways. Political analysts believe building inroads with Muslim voters will be key for BJP’s electoral prospects. Lakshadweep has one Lok Sabha seat which the party lost in 2019 but hopes to contest more vigorously in the upcoming polls.

Snorkeling Adventure Grabs Eyeballs

The visuals of PM Modi snorkeling in the Lakshadweep sea donning a life jacket and mask stole the show on Thursday. Shared widely on social media, the photos present a contrast to his strongman image that usually dominates.

Several news outlets dubbed it an “aquatic adventure” intended to showcase the islands’ tropical charm to adventure seekers and beachgoers. Searches for Lakshadweep on Google skyrocketed after the snorkeling pics went viral. Tourism players are optimistic this spotlight will boost visitor footfall.

Google Trends Lakshadweep Search Interest Over Time

Date            Search Interest
1/4/2024        16
1/5/2024        100  
1/6/2024        89

The Prime Minister called it an exhilarating experience and appealed to Indians to explore the natural marvels of Lakshadweep like its marine life and coral reefs.

Tourism Push to Counter China-Maldives Ties

Experts opine the prominence given to Lakshadweep is also a subtle geostrategic maneuver by the Modi government to offset Chinese influence in the neighboring Maldives islands.

The two island nations share close cultural ties and have discussed transport connectivity projects in the past. However, Maldives’ deepening financial reliance on China has sparked security concerns in New Delhi. Promoting Lakshadweep tourism will curb the need for Indian travelers to vacation in the Maldives, thus limiting foreign currency outflows.

Additionally, developing cruise tourism circuits between the Arabian Sea islands can cement cultural cooperation in India’s favor. Lakshadweep can emulate some successful Maldivian tourism models too. The Ministry of Tourism has already drawn up plans to boost water villas, adventure sports centers, and promote private investment here.

Next Steps: Infrastructure Overhaul

The Lakshadweep Administration has an extensive infrastructure agenda lined up to build on the new connectivity backbone.

Some upcoming projects on the anvil:

  • New domestic airport terminal at Agatti
  • Expanded warehousing capacity for cargo handling
  • Heliport with night landing facility at Kavaratti
  • Eco-tourism resorts across islands like Minicoy, Kadmat, and Amini
  • Waste management systems to maintain ecological balance

Tour operators are also expected to launch new cruise packages marketed aggressively to domestic and foreign visitors alike. The PMO tweeted that this “marks the beginning of a new era of opportunities” for Lakshadweep.

Observers forecast the islands to transform into a globally renowned vacation spot if sustainability considerations are incorporated in the massive facelift. Lakshadweep could be positioned as an exotic yet affordable alternative to the Maldives.

How quickly it can establish itself on the world tourism map remains to be seen in the coming years. But Prime Minister Modi’s personal endorsement has undoubtedly sparked promising possibilities.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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