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Rediscovering the Bay of Bengal

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global groupings involving India and affecting India’s interests, Issues related to maritime development, etc

 

Directions: Important for Prelims and mains, you can use this as an example of the importance of maritime development for India

Source: The Hindu

 

Context:

  • The Bay of Bengal (the Bay) is experiencing an increase in geo-economic, geopolitical, and geo-cultural activity.

Current Affairs

 

Fourth BIMSTEC summit(2018):

  • The 4th BIMSTEC summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • The major focus of this year’s BIMSTEC was enhancing regional connectivity and trade.
  • The Kathmandu Declaration was adopted unanimously at BIMSTEC-2018.

India at 4th BIMSTEC Summit:

  • India announced the opening of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBS) at Nalanda University.

 

Importance of CBS:

  • It will offer collaborations in areas such as:
    • Geo-economics and geopolitics
    • Ecology, trade, and connectivity
    • Maritime security and Maritime law
    • Cultural heritage
    • Blue economy
  • Maritime engagement: This will strengthen India’s overall framework for maritime engagement.

 

Importance of Bay of Bengal:

  • Commerce hub: It is a major commerce hub for the Indian Ocean.
  • Connects east to west: It creates a conduit between the East and the West in terms of trade and culture.
  • Key sea lanes of communication: They are lifelines for global economic security.
    • Sea lanes are crucial to the energy security that powers the economies of many countries in the region.
  • Regional cooperation: It provides an opportunity for greater regional cooperation in the environmentally friendly exploration of marine and energy resources.
  • Biodiversity: The Bay has a biodiverse marine environment.
  • Home to many rare and endangered marine species and mangroves: which are essential to the survival of the ecology and the fishing sector.

 

Current Issues:

  • Bay’s ecosystem: It is going through an unprecedented crisis brought on by widespread environmental exploitation and geopolitical unrest.
  • Climate change and other problems: Problems such as population growth, altered land use, excessive resource exploitation, salinisation, sea level rise, and climate change are exerting significant strain on the Bay’s environment.
  • Operational discharge: From small and medium feeder ships, shipping collisions, unintentional oil spills, industrial waste, pollution
  • Non-biodegradable plastic litter: The accumulation of non-biodegradable plastic litter are all contributing to the deterioration of the Bay.
  • Threat to mangroves: The mangrove trees that protect the shore from the fury of nature are under more threat than ever.

 

Way forward:

  • Sustainable development of the region: For a better knowledge of challenges, and strategies and for the sustainable development of the region, more focused and interdisciplinary study is required on these issues.
    • Example foundation of CBS
  • Nautical neighbours develop a partnership and cooperate: It is essential for the maritime domain’s interrelated and interdependent nature, transnational character, and cross-jurisdictional engagement.
  • Expanding cooperation in maritime safety and security: By enhancing cooperation on maritime connectivity and the ease of maritime transit, and boosting investment possibilities in the maritime connectivity sector need immediate attention.
  • Littoral governments: They need to support and promote skill-building, research, and training.
  • Mobilize incentives and investments: To manage oceanic affairs more effectively, and support people as they switch to alternative lifestyles.

 

Insta Links:

BIMSTEC

Bridging the bay in quest of a stronger BIMSTEC

 

Mains Links:

Q.Project ‘Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian Government to improve relationships with its neighbours. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss. (UPSC 2015)

 

Prelims Links:

BIMSTEC

Bay of Bengal mapping

Mangroves

Kathmandu Declaration

Which of the following is/are members of BIMSTEC?

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Bhutan
  4. Maldives

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1, 2 and 3 only

b. 1 and 4 only

c. 2, 3 and 4 only

d. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (a)

Justification:

Refer to image above