India’s Andaman Islands are where stone-age warfare meets 21st century weapons technology. On November 16, John Allen Chau, an American Christian missionary, was killed in a hail of arrows fired by aboriginal Sentinelese tribesmen as he tried to land on North Sentinel island to spread his faith. The island, one of the remotest and most isolated islands in the Andaman archipelago, is a no-go territory even for Indian administrators, but was suddenly – if not fleetingly – in the global media spotlight due to the US proselytizer’s demise.
The Andamans, along with the nearby Nicobar Islands, form an Indian union territory run from New Delhi. It is home to what is appropriately called the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the Indian military’s first and only tri-service command.