Maritime trade occupies an important place in India's economy and energy security. Most of India's trade and energy supply pass through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It is estimated that most of the India's trade is done through the ocean. Hence securing the maritime area is non-negotiable. Apart from this reason, the geography of India also makes maritime security an important concern for Indian policy makers.
India has a coastline of 7,517 km. Out of this 5,422 km are with main land. Andaman and Nicobar have a coastline of 1962 km and Lakshadweep has 132 km of coastline. This vast coast line presents numerous security challenges like piracy, illegal landing of arms and explosives, infiltration, use of sea and off shore islands for criminal activities, drug and human trafficking and smuggling. Absence of physical barriers on the coast and presence of vital industries like port and important defence installations like RADARs and nuclear reactors enhances the risk and the need to protect its maritime region.
Besides, there is the need to protect the resources of the ocean in a sustainable manner. The traded goods and services are brought to land through the use of ports that are located in different parts of the country all along the coastline.
Oceans not only help in transportation of goods and services but also enable us to use the vast resources such as oil and natural gas and other minerals besides fisheries. Hence, oceans provide enormous economic opportunities for the people as well. Blue economy is the sustainable use of resources of the oceans in a way to help the coastal community people in their economic and social development.
Strategic Importance of Maritime Boundaries
The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is of immense strategic importance to India. Most of the country's oil and gas is imported through the sea. There is continuous increase in trade with the countries that surround the Indian Ocean region. Besides, the sea lanes, the Indian Ocean is considered as the most strategically important in the world because more than 80 % of the world's seaborne oil trade goes through the Indian Ocean choke points - 40 % passes through the Strait of Hormuz, 35 % through the Strait of Malacca and 8 % through the Bab el-Mandab Strait.