Amid recent reports of suspicious infrastructure upgrades at Myanmar’s Coco Islands, an MQ-9 drone leased by the Indian Navy was recently seen reconnoitring the nearby areas of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
About Coco Islands:
- They are a small group of islands located in the Bay of Bengal.
- Great Coco Island, the largest in the group, lies just 55 km from India’s strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- They are part of the Yangon Region of Myanmar.
- It is geologically an extended division of the Arakan Mountains or Rakhine Mountains, submerges as a chain of islands in the Bay of Bengal for a long stretch and emerges again in the form of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- They are part of the same topography as India’s Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
- In the early 19th century, the British government in India established a penal colony in the Andaman for the convicts in the Indian subcontinent, and the Coco Islands were a source of food for it.
- The British government had reportedly leased out the islands to the Jadwet family of Burma.
- The leasing of control of the Coco Islands resulted in poor governance of the islands, which made the British government in India to transfer its control to the government of Lower Burma in Rangoon.
- In 1882, the islands officially became part of British Burma.
- The islands became a self-governing crown colony even after Burma was separated from British India in 1937.
Q1) What is a MQ-9 drone?
The MQ-9 Reaper is a large unmanned Air Force aircraft that is operated remotely by a two-person team consisting of a rated pilot and an enlisted aircrew member. The aircraft features a 66-foot wingspan, a Honeywell engine, a ground control station, and satellite equipment.