[Answered] The Bay of Bengal (the Bay) is significant in terms of geo-economic, geopolitical, and geo-cultural activities. In the light of the statement, highlight the challenges faced by the region and how the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBS) can be helpful in tackling those challenges

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain some challenges faced by the Bay of Bengal region.  Also explain how the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBS) can be helpful in tackling those challenges.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. This sub-regional organization came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.

Challenges faced by the region:

  • The region’s maritime environment has changed as a result of major powers expanding their economic and geopolitical influence.
  • The Bay’s ecosystem is going through an unprecedented crisis brought on by widespread environmental exploitation and geopolitical unrest. Species extinction has severe consequences on biodiversity.
  • 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, and the accumulation of non-biodegradable plastic litter are all contributing to the deterioration of the Bay.
  • A dead zone has formed as a result, and the mangrove trees that protect the shore from the fury of nature are under more threat than ever.

Recently, India has implemented its promise to set up a Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBS) at Nalanda University, Bihar for research on art, culture and other subjects related to the Bay of Bengal.  This can be helpful in tackling these challenges by following ways:

  • Trade and connectivity: The Bay region is a key transit route between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. CBS can help in harnessing and sharing the Bay’s natural wealth.
  • Maritime security and maritime law: collaboration on controlling drug trafficking, facilitating intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism, coastal security, cybersecurity, etc.
  • It can help member states to tackle any future uncertainties. Especially like challenges in climate change, COVID-19 pandemic and balancing US-China relations, etc.
  • This will strengthen India’s overall framework for maritime engagement, which aims to advance sustainable economic growth for all by fostering closer nautical ties.
  • Strengthening Cultural heritage and Blue economy.

Way forward:

  • Littoral governments need to support and promote skill-building, research, and training.
  • Countries in the region will need to mobilise incentives and investments, manage oceanic affairs more effectively, and support people as they switch to alternative lifestyles.
Print Friendly and PDF