[Answered]With a coastline expanding around 7500 Km India needs to replicate the successes in space exploration to the oceans as well. Discuss the need and importance of ocean exploration for India.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual Introduction.

Body. Discuss the need and importance of ocean exploration for India.

Conclusion. Way forward.

India has an exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 2.02 million sq.km and a long coastline of 7500 Km with rich and diverse marine living resources. Government of India is promoting ‘Blue Growth Initiative’ which focus on utilisation of wealth from the marine and other aquatic resources of the country for improving the lives and livelihoods of fishermen and their families.

Need of ocean exploration for India:

  1. Fishery: Marine fisheries wealth around Indian coastline is estimated to have an annual harvestable potential of 4.4 million metric tonnes.
  2. Minerals: Indian Ocean contain vast amount of minerals, including cobalt, zinc, manganese and rare earth materials. These minerals are needed for the electronic industry to make smart phones, laptops and car components etc. This can help Make in India initiative.
  3. Energy resources: The main energy resources present in Indian Ocean are petroleum and gas hydrates. Petroleum products mainly includes the oil produced from offshore regions. Gas hydrates are unusually compact chemical structures made of water and natural gas.
  4. Salts: Seawater contain economically useful salts such as gypsum and common salt. Gypsum is useful in various industries.
  5. Manganese Nodules and Crusts: Manganese nodules contain significant concentrations of manganese, iron and copper, nickel, and cobalt all of which have a numerous economic uses.
  6. Disaster preparedness: Information from deep-ocean exploration can help predict earthquakes and tsunamis.
  7. Nation’s Security: It will play a significant role in the security of the nation as many critical military technologies rely heavily on rare earth elements which are abundant in Ocean.
  8. Technological advancements: It can also help us in innovating technologies from underwater vehicles to underwater robotics.
  9. Health industry: Unlocking the mysteries of deep-sea ecosystems can reveal new sources for medical drugs, food, and other products

Importance of these resources in Indian socio-economic progress:

  1. Sustainable development: Marine resources from Indian Ocean can serve as the backbone of India’s economic growth and can help India to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2022. Blue economy, through sustainable use of oceans, has great potential for boosting economic growth.
  2. Employment generation:It will provide jobs and will improve livelihood. This will help in inclusive growth. E.g. improving fishery resources exploitation can provide livelihood to many.
  3. Food security: It will lead to food security through fishery sector and other sea food resources. It would also help in reducing malnutrition issue in India as fishes are good source of nutrition.
  4. Energy security: It will help in diversification of energy resources and will provide new resources for energy e.g. gas hydrates.
  5. Efficient transportation and logistics: Indian Ocean is a major gateway of trade with 80% of global oil trade happening through it. Better connectivity in the region will significantly cut the transport costs and will reduce logistics inefficiencies.
  6. Women empowerment: It will help in women empowerment especially fishery sector by providing them jobs. As these jobs do not require high skills, women will find it easy to earn a livelihood.
  7. Climate Change:Oceans provide an alternate and cleaner source of energy. It also acts as an important carbon sink. This will help in mitigating climate change.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14), calls to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. India should expedite its efforts to exploit oceanic resources in Indian Ocean. What is required is the use of technology to exploit oceanic resources in Indian Ocean. India has rightly launched O-SMART scheme aiming at regulated use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development in this direction.

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