Port Blair becomes an immigration check post; foreign tourists can now visit Andamans directly

The central government has entitled Port Blair Airport as an authorised immigration check post for entry and exit from India. This would allow foreign tourists to now directly fly to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

A notification released by the Union Home Ministry said that the Port Blair airport of Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been designated as an authorised check post for entry into/exit from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers. It has been done by enforcing a sub-rule (b) of rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950.

Also, the Superintendent of Police, CID, and the Andaman and Nicobar Police have been appointed by the ministry as the “civil authority” for this check post with effect from December 31, 2018.

The decision came in the wake of an incident which made the Union Territory gained the headlines. An American national John Allen Chau was killed by the members of the highly protected, reclusive and endangered Sentinelese tribe in North Sentinel Island in November. Since then, the islands have emerged as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in India. It receives around four lakh tourists annually. A data revealed that the archipelago has received 4,02,393 tourists, including 11,818 foreigners only till October 2018 as compared to 4,87,229 tourists, including 15,310 foreigners in 2017.

Also, recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday officially announced the renaming of three most-visited islands of the Andaman and Nicobar group as a tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.

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