(Last Updated on : 13/09/2014)
The Sentinel Islands are part of the Andaman Islands chain and they are divided between north and south sections. The Sentinelese people live on the North Sentinel Islands.
North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It lies to the west of the southern part of South Andaman Island, and encompasses an area of 72 km². Officially the island is controlled by India as part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory (since 1947). North Sentinel Island is home to a tribe of indigenous people, namely the Sentinelese, whose present numbers are estimated to be anywhere between 50 and 400 individuals. They withdraw from any contact with other people, and are among the last people to remain practically untouched by modern civilization. Because there has never been any treaty with the people of the island, or any record of a material occupation whereby the people of the island have approved sovereignty, the island exists in a curious state of halfway under established international law and can be seen as a sovereign entity under Indian authority. It is, therefore, one of the de facto self-governing regions of India
The local government of Andaman and Nicobar Islands looks into the governance of Sentinel Islands, however they do not interfere with the Sentinelese's lifestyle or habitat. Although the island is likely to have suffered seriously from the effects of the December 2004 tsunami, the survival of the Sentinelese was confirmed when, some days post the event, an Indian government helicopter observed several of them, who shot arrows at the hovering aircraft and vehemently repelled it.
South Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. At only 160 hectares and it is much smaller than its counterpart, North Sentinel Island and of considerably less interest. South Sentinel is sited west of northwest direction of Little Andaman Island in the south of the Andaman chain. From the limited information available it can be said that South Sentinel Island is a wooded coral reef. From a journal of the 19th Century, it is derived that a Colonel Alcock who passed the island and witnessed priceless corals all around. The island is uninhabited but is sometimes used by diving expeditions on account of its remoteness and unique factor. Apart from an unmanned lighthouse there are no facilities on this island.
The Sentinel Islands are some of the most picturesque islands in the Andaman group and home to the obscure Sentinelese tribe.