From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Location,BIMSTEC,Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies
Mains level : Foreign Policy,Regional Grouping
- At the fourth BIMSTEC summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the opening of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBS) at Nalanda University. The launch of the CBS has once again demonstrated India’s commitment to advancing constructive agendas by forging connections and setting up platforms for all those with an interest in the of Bay of Benagl.
Why Bay of Bengal is so important?
- Commerce hub: The Bay has long been a major commerce hub for the Indian Ocean. It created a conduit between the East and the West in terms for trade and culture.
- Emerging arena of maritime warfare: An Indo-Pacific orientation and the realignment of global economic and military power towards Asia have had a considerable impact on the Bay region.
- Communication and Energy: The key sea lanes of communication in this area are lifelines for global economic security and are crucial to the energy security that powers the economies of many countries in the region.Further, non-traditional dangers including terrorism and climate change have become more prevalent.
- Under water resources: The Bay also provides an opportunity for greater regional cooperation in the environmentally friendly exploration of marine and energy resources. The Bay has a biodiverse marine environment.
- Fresh water resources: It receives the water from some of the world’s largest rivers. It is a partially enclosed sea that has given rise to several geological characteristics.
- Ecology: It is home to many rare and endangered marine species and mangroves, which are essential to the survival of the ecology and the fishing sector.
Why ecology in the region is under threat?
The region’s maritime environment has changed as are result of major powers expanding their economic and geopolitical influence.
- Competition: Political and cultural engagement, together with economic competition, have taken on new dimensions. More crucially, the Bay’s ecosystem is going through an unprecedented crisis brought on by widespread environmental exploitation and geopolitical unrest.
- Resource exploitation: Species extinction is a result of careless exploitation of the maritime environment, which has severe consequences on biodiversity. Problems such as population growth, altered land use, excessive resource exploitation, salinity, sea level rise, and climate change are exerting significant strain on the Bay’s environment.
- Water pollution: Operational discharge from small and medium feeder ships, shipping collisions, unintentional oil spills, industrial waste, pollution, and the accumulation of non- biodegradable plastic litter are all contributing to the deterioration of the Bay.
- Declining ecology: A dead-zone has formed, and the mangrove trees that protect the shore from the fury of nature are under more threat than ever.
What could be the Solutions?
For a better knowledge of challenges, and strategies to overcome them for the sustainable development of the region, more focused and inter-disciplinary study is required on these issues.
- Centre for Bay of Bengal studies: By founding the CBS, Nalanda University has already started its journey and given the nation a unique interdisciplinary research centre devoted to Bay focused teaching, research, and capacity building. Additionally, scholars from many countries and academic streams are already participating in CBS’s first certificate programme on the Bay.
- Inter-governmental cooperation: It is essential that nautical neighbours develop a partnership and cooperate because of the maritime domain’s interrelated and interdependent nature, transnational character, and cross-jurisdictional engagement of various governments and diverse organisations and enterprises.
- Maritime connectivity: A few concerns that need immediate attention include expanding cooperation in maritime safety and security, enhancing cooperation on maritime connectivity and the ease of maritime transit, and boosting investment possibilities in the maritime connectivity sector.
- Illegal activities: The latter subject involves addressing non-traditional threats and fostering group efforts to reduce illicit, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
- Data sharing: Standardising and harmonising data reporting.
- Balanced approach: Furthermore regional marine entities should strive to balance opportunities and goals on a national, regional, and international scale.
- Investment in R&D: Littoral governments need to support and promote skill-building, research, and training.
- Countries in the Bay of Bengal need to mobilise investments, manage maritime affairs more effectively. Alternative lifestyle should be explored. The cooperation of all member states, for information gathering, sharing and result oriented actions is crucial in protecting the ecology of Bay of Bengal.
Q.Countries in the Indian subcontinent are developing rapidly, putting serious stress on the environment of the Bay of Bengal.Mention the challenges and suggest solutions.