No Taste for Vanilla: Union Home Ministry Junks Island Tourism Dreams

Published: 04th October 2014 05:59 AM
Last Updated: 04th October 2014 05:59 AM 

NEW DELHI: In one of the first standoffs between the ministries in the Narendra Modi Government, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has shot down the Ministry of Tourism’s (MoT) proposal to include Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Vanilla Islands organisation in order to jointly promote tourism in the Indian Ocean destinations.
The concept of Vanilla Islands was founded in 2010 to bring all the tourism assets of the Indian Ocean together. Joining the Vanilla Island groups would have meant that Andamans would be jointly promoted along with other Indian Ocean destinations, including Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius.

The Vanilla ball was set rolling when Seychelles Tourism Minister Alain St. Ange visited India in July. MoT warmed up to the idea and a proposal was sent to the MHA for approval.
But the Rajnath Singh-led MHA shot down the proposal, mooted by Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik, citing the strategic importance of the Andamans which could be affected if the Island is opened up for more tourism opportunities. “Andamans is a very sensitive  region both strategically and environmentally. Opening it up further for tourism purposes does not augur well either to Andamans or to the country as a whole,’’ said a government source aware of the development. India is quite concerned about the increasing Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean region. China is the biggest player in the region and the ocean is an important aspect in China’s foreign policy as it links the country to African, Middle Eastern and European trade routes.  To counter the Chinese presence, the Indian government feels that Andamans is the best bet as this group of islands which span 450 nautical miles sit strategically at the entrance of the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Andamans’ strategic position will help India monitor Chinese maritime activity in the Indian Ocean.
No wonder, India feels that bolstering the Andamans’ defence infrastructure, which would help combat Chinese aggression, is more important than opening it up for tourism. According to the official, the Modi Government is looking at the strategic location of the Andamans in the Indian Ocean with all seriousness. “The government has taken note of the fact that people from abroad have managed to secure fake identities to infiltrate into Andaman & Nicobar Islands,’’ he said. The official added that Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijju had visited the Island recently to discuss the issue of illegal migration to this island with strategic importance. “At a time when the government is trying to put everything into order in the islands, there is no case of opening up,’’ said the official.
On the current status of the proposal, Vanilla Islands CEO Pascal Viroleau told The Sunday Standard that the organisation is still waiting for the official application from the Indian government. “We are waiting for the official applying of these islands,” he said replying to a mail.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is also learnt to have expressed its reservation to the MoT proposal citing the possibility of a threat to the already endangered primitive tribal groups including the Jarawa tribes whose total number is already below 50.
“Insensitive tourism will mean death knell to the primitive tribe,’’ said a tribal ministry official, recalling the instance of a Jarawa woman being made to dance naked in return for food by tourists. But naturally, MoT is upset. It feels that it would certainly have strengthened all Indian Ocean destinations, including the Andamans, as Vanilla Islands promote inter-island packages to help increase visitors to member-destinations.


  1. There is one solution to react to Indian concern and control Chinese present in the Indian Ocean namely that Seychelles government stay non-align and dictates what would or not would happen in its EEZ.Listening to both Indain and Chinese governemnts ,one gets the feeling as If Seychelles is not a sovereign Nation ,and Chinese and Indian are fighting who would control it and access it.

    Andamans---I agree that the Indain government is concncern of MASS TOURISM which should be also our concern(Nb we have been telling Pl to stop building more hotles bu7t instead develop OfF SEASON tourism, and develop our Outter Isalnds instead ),as to the Vaniulla idea--it is just an idea without concretes trategies behind it---for instance that all governments involve think of how they can combined(in a package these islands)or how their National Airlines would play their roles,Hotels,travel agencies,etc---- all needed to make the idea a reality but functionable.St Ange made lots of speeches but unfortunately failed to provide a single idea on how to move forward.

    Jarawa tribes endanger --In Seychelles is Seychellois being out number by illegal imported expats etc.....----"Insensitive TOurism will death knell to the primitive tribe"The minister says.The unsustainable tourism development will do exactly the same to Seychellois.

    The minister would have like to see Vanilla/Andamans operating together-----This could happen simply if Seychelles government in an non-alignment way and dictates what goes on in its EEZ and that as a Soveriegn state should do.It is clear that Pl unapproved policies towards Communsit China is the main cause of this situation and Seychellois do not even approve Pl policies --it is not theirs but simply that of the one-party dictatorship which must sell out anything and everything to bail out itself.

    Nad frankly,where is Partilepep the same one who in 1977 cried out No USA BASE in INDIAN OCEAN because it is athreat to the region peace and stability"What makes partilepep think today that Chinese in not a threat and its present in the Indain Ocean would make the region unstable not by regional countires but by Communist China who think because it is economical powerful and would also be military has a right on smaller Nations territories and peoples.

  2. It is governments of mostly these Island states governments' policies that are creating a situation that discourage India to participate in such program. Most of these governments are victims of geopolitical games or secret agreements, just that those in power can collect some millions for themselves without putting tinterests before self.For In stance,the moves by Maldives to renege on Bangalore GMR^s £500 millions is case of geopolitics trumping geo-economics,.Of course ,India has no intention to collaborate with Indian OCean countries like the Maldives to develop common tourism stragety while the same give away part of its territories to China to build Naval base thus create an imbalance in the INdia/china military capabilities.

    Geopolitics is not geographic determinism,but based on thea ssumption that geograpjy defines limits and opportunities in International politics,:states can realize their geopolitical opportunities(which Seychelles should do)or become victim of their geopolitical situation Like Maldvies,even Seychelles could have been should there had been known resisitance and oppositions to Pl policies.

    While we may be hyperbolic to say geographic knowledge is a critical security ingredient,we cannot ignore that geography affect on our personal well-being and National, International prosperity or poverty.
    the increases understanding of how geography affects our Nation and world need to occur at all levels of the educational by replacing the vague and diffuse phrase(SOCIAL STUDIES with systematic long-term study of economics,geography,history and political science to avoid sell out Like Maldives without really having look beyond the short-term millions they pocket and not long-terms of the different pros and cons that may arise.Without Maldives gifting Chinese one of its Island to Chinese to build Naval base India position would have been probably different.

  3. PRC is making big military moves with Naval Base in Pakistan, Mombasa.
    PRCw will destroy Seychelles fisheries with fishing base in Mozambique.
    The three projects mentioned above are worth over 2 Billion USD in our region.
    Wake up folks!
    Seselwa Unite!
    Sesel Pou Seselwa!
    Christopher Gill

  4. Indian refusal to participate in Vanilla Island project is unfortunate,for in fact ,the Andamans Islands in recently years the most popular destination for Indian Tourists.Indian government decision not to join the other Regional countries is more a demonstration of anger in the way Island States governments are giving out their Sovereignty to simply please Chinese and on the way pocket some short-term bail out and thereby putting Indian long partnerships,interests built through the decades with these Island states into jeopardy.Ît is clear that the Andamans Isalnds have a rich biodiversity with high endenmicity,best suit for Eco-tourism than building a Naval base that has more disturbing effects than tourism on the Islands' biodiversity.

    Indian seems to think ,its loosing influences on its long time neighbours with the aggressive Chinese present and the later has been using its financial power to entice failed Island States ,with often crooked governments ready to sell out their soul,patrimony of their people to Chinese without thinking on their own Geopolitcal/economic interests.One could imagine that should these Island States government take their own economic before that of foreign regional powers ,things could be much more favorable in participating in such project and others with India and others Nations.The Island States government such as Seychelles ,Malidives seem not to have the right persons governing them,apt of taking National decisions which would have long term benefits for their people.All they after is make so dollars for themselves by often illegally making all kinds of deals with countries like China and so on ,without real consultation,,participation, approval of their people ,which in the end make them geo-politic victims of other Nations.

  5. Indian Government has 'fout coup-pied' in the Vanillas islands tourism concept, so it is time for Minister St. Ange to stop giving exposure and support to the Indian cultural activities in Seychelles.

  6. Because those Asking India to participate are playing bouble games--on one hand they want to use the opportunity provides in the region to boost tourism on the other hand they secretively selling out China their terrirotries to build up Naval bases thus destabilizing the region and putting Indian long built interests with regional nations in danger.India thinks its security interest is most important on the long -term than VANILLA project.

    You right to say St Ange must stop deminizing Our own Culture ,trandtion and use Indain Culture to promote Seychelles.This is a fake St Ange--you cannot sell fake activities to tourists who chose to come to us to experience our culture,tradition get know our people by Indain CUlture,religious processions etc.....We are not Indain but a unique Nation with our own tradition,culture,mentality that have nothing to do with India.
    E,g this massive Hindu temple must be destroyed ,it is does not have anything to s with Seychellois who are in their majority Christians.These Hindu procession compose of Expats workers must be stopped--they have nothing to do in our country and streets--they donot represent our people.It is high time to reduce the present of Indian Expats in our land which has reached almost one quarter of our population--if not stop in a few decades they would out number Seychellois --like they did in EUA and other Arab countries which ended by creating imported problems such as religious conflicts,terrorism,etc....

    Seychelles has a rich culture,tradition etc... that is what St Ange should be selling the world not fantasies.

  7. NATION the mouth piece of Pl writes today"WORLD HABITAT DAY" mY HOUSE IN MY PROPERTY AND RESPONSIBILITY---- all Seychellois agree with this statememnt--that is why we are calling on pl thugs to reduce indian and other ofriegn present in our sovereign and slowly colonalizing our chirstian land.We believe our house Seychelles is our property and responsibility--as to the later .it explain why Seychellois want DEMOCRACY because they think it is tnot only their responsibility but also the duty to rule thmesleves,take decisions of how their house should look like,who they invite in their house,and who their friends should be.

    We also agree with Pl comment that my house is my property--that is why we set up decades ago rules that forbid the selling out of our patrimony to foreigners,including our birthrights(passports).

    My house is my property and responsibility--so get those invaders out of our land Pl.

    Jeanne D'Arc

  8. Stop St Ange rise up Seychellios or soon or later St Ange and this regime will make you it kaka malbar and Victoria will come smelly with like Delhi.Remember Seychellios Indian Paskitani don't be leave in family planning.Can not see EU are increasing its law on immigration to stop Jihadist coming on their soil to kill its peoples.You bring it sucker 2016 I don't know how they will get back home and all pp crooks start to dig up your hole.

    Seychellios fisrt.

  9. Even their daughters PP crooks will sell for money after bankrupt this little island.
    St Ange stop destroying Seychellios culture please we will not tell you anymore.

    Zot fes I sek!they will continue sucking all kind of foreign dick to stay alive they been sucking Seychellios blood now they are prepare to suck foreign dick.

  10. In New African MAgasine---the journalist says"In 2008Michel took unilaterally economic decisions/refroms without even consulting his team"In other owrds,Michel finally proclaim that he is a Dictator( its My way,the highway or anyway).But by saying tha,t Michel who once against proves to apparently suffering from mental disorder-----Think that what he did in 2008 when he decided to illegally and unilaterally sell out our economic to foreigners and set up voodoo -economic reforms that all this was a success.But the painful fact is that we all know that Michel economic policy as in fact all other policies are fialures--that have brought painful suffering on Seychellois and will continue as long as we donot get these monkeys back to the Congo rainforest or into a zoo.

  11. UB40 will be in concert on Eden ilsand but no tickets for sale but rather can be won if I don't any tickets that I can watch the concert?.Are this concert just some suckers that only some can watch UB40 you better stop your f**king discrimination and racist on shore.
    A concert only for foreigners big head stop those kind of shit you are promoting on our shore otherwise you will pay for division you are creating on our island.


  13. So what do you think?
    Can Jam brink himself to the ICC since he proclaimed several occasion that he is KOSTO KAPAB KONPETAN?

  14. Kosto-Kapab-Konpetan Dan trous Fes zacko.


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