Navy outlines six-point plan for supporting the “Blue Economy” - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Stuff.

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Friday, 23 April 2021

Navy outlines six-point plan for supporting the “Blue Economy”


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 24th April 21

 

India’s so-called "blue economy", which involves harnessing the vast resources of the ocean in a sustainable, equitable and efficient way, would quadruple by 2050, estimated Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Karambir Singh while explaining how the Indian Navy supports and safeguards this economy.

 

Ocean-based trade currently contributes about 4 per cent of India’s Gross Domestic Product. The CNS estimated that two-thirds of India’s food production would be farmed from the seas and clean offshore wind energy would be the leading power generation technology in the next few years.

 

With 80 per cent of the world’s population residing within 200 km of the coast, by 2030 the global population would require about 30 per cent more water, 40 per cent more energy and 50 per cent more food.

 

Karambir said India could only achieve its goal of emerging as a $5 trillion economy if it moved outwards and tapped the oceans. With the Extended Continent Shelf likely to be added to our current Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), this will make India’s sea area as large as its land area. 

 

“This combined with India’s location, a 7,516 km long coastline, 14,500 km length of navigable inland waterways, and 1,382 islands; I think the seas must become India’s ‘opportunity region’ in the coming future,” he said.

 

Elaborating further, Karambir stated that India fished only 70 per cent of 5.3 million metric tonnes in its Maritime Zone. About 90 per cent of this catch comes from fishing in waters up to 50 metres, which meant deep-sea fishing provides large opportunities.

 

The CNS said India currently plans to tap just one-tenth of its 300 Gigawatts offshore wind energy potential. The Bay of Bengal has 8 per cent of the world’s coral reefs and 12 per cent of all mangroves, providing opportunities for coral reef tourism.

 

Singh said the navy safeguards this blue economy in three ways. First, through comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), which means monitoring and understanding what is happening at sea. This remains a challenge, given India’s EEZ. 

 

Second, the navy coordinates closely with national and international maritime agencies to close gaps in understanding, policing and jurisdiction. The CNS cited last Sunday’s drug haul near Minicoy (part of the Lakshadweep archipelago), which involved close coordination with various national agencies and careful monitoring of the linkages between drugs and terror.

 

Third, the navy supports littoral nations in developing their maritime capability. “We support partner nations through construction of patrol vessels, installation of radar chains, training support, information sharing, joint EEZ surveillance, etc.,” he said.

 

Karambir also explained three measures that India used to discharge its role as “an element of the blue economy.”

 

First, through the navy’s strong hydrographic capability that enables it to teach smaller island nations to map their EEZ. Second, by supporting shipbuilding through 
“an indigenous shipbuilding ecosystem, with know-how, expertise and skills that pool into the wider ship-building industry.” 

 

The third area is data collation. Naval assets support oceanographic data collection that pools into national marine data. India is lending support to the national Deep Ocean Mission, which aims to send a manned mission to 6,000 metres depth for surveying poly-metallic nodules, hydrothermal deposits, and deep-sea biodiversity. 

 

==============

 

 

India’s Opportunity Region

 

Blue economy involves harnessing vast oceanic resources sustainably, equitably and efficiently.

 

Blue economy presently contributes 4% of India’s GDP

 

Ocean-based trade would quadruple by 2050. 

 

By 2050, two-third of India’s food production would be farmed from the seas

 

Clean offshore wind energy would be the leading power generation technology in the next few years. 

 

80 per cent of the world’s population lives within 200 kms of the coast. Global population would require 30% more water, 40% per cent more energy and 50% more food by 2030.

 

India has a 7,516 km coastline, 14,500 km navigable inland waterways, and 1,382 islands.

 

India fishes only 70% per cent of 5.3 million metric tonnes in its Maritime Zone. 

 

90 per cent is from fishing in waters up to 50 metres. That provides large opportunities for deep-sea fishing.

 

India currently plans to tap just one-tenth of its 300 Gigawatts offshore wind energy potential. 

 

The Bay of Bengal has 8 per cent of the world’s coral reefs and 12 per cent of all mangroves, providing opportunities for coral reef tourism.




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