On January 4, a live Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) warhead was discovered nearly 3 km inland on the shores of the Middle Andaman Island. Identified as a Chinese-manufactured Type 69 (Chinese RPG-7) DZGI-40 explosive, the warhead was safely defused. But its discovery on the Dhani Nallah beach has raised security concerns. The presence of the warhead came to light when Jyoti Prakash, a Forest Department worker, discovered the object while cleaning the beach. .The RPG warhead had ‘DZGI-40 29-90-22’ written on it. Speaking to TNM, Lt Gen (retd) Palepu Ravi Shankar, the ex-Director General of Artillery in the Indian Army explained that this is a handheld rocket with a range of 200 metres. “China has stopped using it, but they could have given it to someone else, or it may have been smuggled,” he said. “The fact that such a weapon washed ashore would not be something I ignore,” the ex-DG said, “This is not something usual. The weapon is in good order, it’s not rusted. Such short range engagement is good for private armies and pirates. If I was in Andaman, I would be worried; not overtly, but worried for sure. This requires a proper investigation.” He also added that private groups in Myanmar are often supplied with arms by the Chinese. “This could have been smuggled through Myanmar or even through Thailand.”On the condition of anonymity, a source revealed that as per the location coordinates of the incident, the area falls under the Wildlife Division of Mayabunder, which prohibits locals and tourists from visiting the area without permission. In such a situation, the presence of Chinese-made ammunition raises eyebrows, and it cannot be ascertained whether it was brought by residents or shipped in a tourist boat..Why it’s a matter of concernSpeaking to TNM, former Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash (retd), who was the first Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), highlighted the strategic importance of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Being close to the Malacca Strait, the Indian government could potentially dominate the strategic sealane to China if it so wanted. The islands also provide India with a commanding geostrategic presence in the Bay of Bengal and an access to the world's busiest shipping trade route – the Ten-degree channel within India's Exclusive Economic Zone.The ANC's zone of influence has deep significance in terms of global economy, geopolitics, safety, freedom of navigation, and power projection of not only India, but also other nations in the region..In response to speculations about its presence, Admiral Prakash suggested the possibility of the ammunition arriving while floating in water, or during the landing of refugees from neighbouring countries. He said that it is difficult to comment on the matter until proper investigation is completed.The ANC, responsible for safeguarding India's strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca, is now under scrutiny. The former Navy chief further added that the incident near Dhani Nallah Beach brings attention to the challenges faced by the ANC in patrolling such terrains and the imperative need for increased surveillance to secure vital strategic locations.Our correspondent attempted to contact the ANC, but received no response. An email was also sent to the Public Relations officer of defence, but no reply was received. The Deputy Superintendent of Police too refrained from commenting.According to sources, the forest department has ordered exhaustive patrolling in the area, and a copy of the order was accessed by this reporter. It was reported that the ANC and the Coast Guard blasted the rocket, and the Coast Guard retrieved the remaining parts. Later, the ANC also searched the nearby areas.