/ / 7 Reasons Why Tourists Are Not Allowed In Nicobar Islands

7 Reasons Why Tourists Are Not Allowed In Nicobar Islands

Tourists are not allowed to visit Nicobar Island. Very special permits are required to visit the Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas inside the Nicobar boundary. This type of permission prohibits normal tourists to visit the island but, allows researchers who want to visit there for carrying out any research-related activities.

Are you planning a trip to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands? If yes, then this is the perfect post to read right now.

For all those tourists who are planning a trip to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, they should know that the tourists can only visit the Andaman Islands and not the Nicobar Islands.

So, it obvious that tourists are not allowed to visit Nicobar but, they are allowed to visit the Andaman Islands.

If you are planning a trip to visit Andaman you can read more here about how to plan a perfect trip to Andaman.

If in case, you want to know why tourists are not allowed to visit the Nicobar Islands then you can read this detailed post to know more.

So, without any further ado let’s get started…

7 reasons why tourists are not allowed to visit the Nicobar Islands…

A mixed group of Shompen people in 1886 in the Great Nicobar Island.
A mixed group of Shompen people in 1886 in the Great Nicobar Island.
(Image Source:Dr. S.N.H. Rizvi, The Shompen, Seagull Books, Calcutta 1990 / Public domain)

#1. A big concern to protect the tribal communities

The Indian Government has taken much care to protect the indigenous tribal communities of the Nicobar Islands.

It was first in the year 1956 when the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation was passed.

The main goal of this Act is to protect the existence of the various tribal communities living in the Nicobar Islands.

The Indian Government back in 1956 made an initiative to protect the various tribes from the harmful effects of exposure and contact with the outside world while they are not physically, socially, and culturally prepared for such contact.

The following tribes that are protected under this act are Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese, Nicobarese, and Shorn Pens. The Jarawas tribe was given much importance.

This Act prohibited the entry of tourists into the Nicobar Islands. And moreover, these tribes were provided with a declared area which they inhabited as a new reserved and protected area.

This made the conservation of ecology and environment of the Jarawa Reserve Territory and the various tribal territory in the Nicobar Islands possible.

It had also strengthened the support systems in order to enable the Jarawas to pursue their traditional modes of subsistence and way of living.


Jarawa Tribe of Nicobar Islands
Jarawa Tribe of Nicobar Islands (Image Source/realbharat.org)

#2. In order to protect from the disastrous effect towards the people and nature

The main reason to prohibit the entry of tourists in the Nicobar Islands is to protect from the disastrous effect of the outer world towards the people and nature of those areas.

The various tribal communities are highly protected from the outer world and the government and the tribals don’t want the outer world to disturb their way of living. Many of these tribes are still isolated and living inside the dense jungles of the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve.

Moreover, it was seen that the people of the tribal communities mainly the Jarawas were vulnerable to various diseases when they come in contact with the people of the outer world. This has led to various deadly situations amongst the people.

It was seen that these people didn’t have that much of immunity to protect themselves from such common diseases. Immunity is the ability of an organism to resist a particular infection causes to them.

The Jarawas were treated and considered as a unique human heritage due to this reason for the lack of immunity. So, the government decided to restrict the Nicobar islands from the tourists.

This also promoted the safeguarding of the natural environment which is the habitat of these various tribal communities.

The restriction demanded no exploitation of the various natural resources within the Jarawa reserve by any non-tribal Including the Government itself.

This was a great initiative to safeguard from the disastrous effect of the outer world towards the people and nature.


#3. To safeguard the territory from invasion

Another reason for prohibiting the entry was to safeguard the Nicobar islands from any type of invasion by the neighboring countries coming through the sea or air route.

We all know that Nicobar is a part of India, but it is far away and is almost 1500 km from India’s mainland. And so, it is obvious that the island is vulnerable to the invasion of other countries.

So, to safeguard the territory, the Indian Government has made entry restrictions and has kept highly armed Navy, armed Police and Army forces in these islands.

The entry and any other roaming activities around the islands are highly restricted.

It is strictly ensured that no person other than a Jarawa or any local tribal people is allowed to enter the restricted by any means unless he/she is permitted by the competent authority designated by the A&N administration for this purpose.


Natives of the Nicobar Islands
Natives of the Nicobar Islands (Image Source)

#4. To keep the tribal’s indigenous culture and traditions safe

Our Indian Government has a big concern for the indigenous tribal communities living in the deeper areas of the Nicobar Islands.

One of the other reasons to restrict the entry of tourists to these islands was to strictly protect the tribal’s indigenous culture and traditions and safeguard them.

The government wants to keep the way of living of these tribal people intact as it was during their early times without any possible interference by the outer world.

The native people of these islands don’t want to let the tourists or other sorts of people inside. And, so the government has also taken care of this.

It’s all because both the tribals and the government know that the results will be disastrous to them and to the nature in which they are living.

This has made possible to strictly preserve and take various conservation steps to maintain the social organization, mode of subsistence, and the cultural identities of the various tribal communities.

The restriction of entry is also made to preserve those ancient communities by safeguarding and giving value to their unique culture and lifestyle.


Nicobar Islands
Nicobar Islands Image Source (Arne Müseler / arne-mueseler.de / CC BY-SA

#5. Nicobar is a strategic place for defense which can not be exposed to the outside world

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a growing strategic place for defense related stuffs.

It’s a huge defense area and also a protected tribal area where you can only visit after getting strict permissions from the government.

Nicobar is having the biggest airport in the Andaman & Nicobar islands which is dedicated to the airforce. This is the Car Nicobar Air Force Base at Car Nicobar Island, Nicobar.

The Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands is very commonly used as a basis for Indian maritime power projection into the Indo-Pacific and even beyond into the south-west Pacific.

The defense systems that are established in the Nicobar islands can strategically plan and promote the safety of Southeastern India’s boundary while keeping an eye on the foreign lands.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are used for India’s Third Fleet and the trans-shipment hub at Car Nicobar is potentially a strategic game-changer, rivalling the ports of Singapore or Colombo.

The ANC (Andaman & Nicobar Command Force) has at least 20 small Indian Navy warships, two Naval sea bases, one IAF airbase, and three naval airbases under its command. Many of these are still in a secret location inside the Nicobar Islands.

These have all strengthened the defense mechanism of the country. And have made Nicobar an overall strategic place for defense which can not be exposed to the outside world.


A mixed group of Shompen people in 1886 in the Great Nicobar Island.
(Image Source:Dr. S.N.H. Rizvi, The Shompen, Seagull Books, Calcutta 1990 / Public domain)

#6. Protection of Health Status

One of the other main goals to restrict any kind of tourist entry to the Nicobar Islands is to protect the health status of the various tribes of Nicobar, mainly the Jarawas tribe.

The main objective of the regular restriction was mainly to provide medical help to the Jarawas, Shompens, and other native tribes to reduce mortality and morbidity in case of their sudden affliction with diseases that they don’t have natural immunity for.

According to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation Act of 1956, the Jarawas and the other tribes are considered and treated as a unique human heritage.

Sohe areas are restricted so that these tribal communities do not come in contact with the outer world.

And moreover, various periodic health-related surveys of these communities are organized through a Standing Team of health professionals in order to make sure that they are free from any diseases and have proper immunity to protect themselves.

Moreover, the traditional knowledge of Jarawas including their ethnomedicinal formulas are well-preserved and documented in order to protect their heritage and future health issues as well.

These all are done in a very strategic manner in order to safeguard and protect the health status of the various tribes.


#7. Protection of the natural habitat

Another main goal to restrict tourists from entering the Nicobar Islands is to protect the natural habitat of the indigenous people and safeguard their way of living and protect their food chain.

We all know that if any place comes in contact with the outer world it results in the change of the environment due to the outer intervention. That’s the words from chapters of ecology.

And, these words also proves why restriction has been made for the entry of tourists to the Nicobar Islands.

The government doesn’t want any type of disturbance in the natural environment of these tribal locations.

Accordingly, it is seen that no exploitation and disturbance of natural resources within the Jarawa reserve by any non-trIbal including the Government agencies are allowed.

Necessary measures have also been initiated to cut even occasional extraction of resources from the Jarawa territory by the non-Jarawas as well.

In order to protect the natural habitat and environmental disturbances, the buying of the land within the islands is restricted and no one except the native people of those areas can buy and acquire land in those areas.

The government wants to make sure that the proper conservation of the ecology and environment of the tribal territories is done and strengthen the support systems in order to enable them to pursue their traditional modes of subsistence in their natural habitat.


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