The Indian peninsula juts 1,980 km into the Indian Ocean with 50% of the Indian Ocean basin lying within a 1500 km radius of India, a reality that has strategic implications. Between the Gulf of Aden and Malacca Strait, is seen as India’s sphere of influence. India is one of very few countries in the world to have developed the technology to extract minerals from the deep sea bed. Under the law of the sea, by adding up the sea waterways comprising territorial zone of 20 km, contiguous zone 40 km, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 320 km, India has exclusive rights to explore mineral wealth in an area of 150,000 square km in the Indian Ocean.
India imports 70 % of its oil requirements, 4000 tankers come to Indian ports annually and almost 95 % of Indian trade moves by sea. Any interference to our sea lanes, coastal offshore areas and ports, will have a crippling impact on the country’s economic growth. Almost 3.5 million Indians work in Gulf countries and it is in India’s interest to ensure that the environment in Gulf remains stable The IO is a critical waterway for global trade and commerce. This strategic expanse hosts heavy international maritime traffic that includes half of the world’s containerized cargo, one third of its bulk cargo and two third of its oil shipment. Its waters carry heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oilfields of the Persian Gulf and Indonesia, and contain an estimated 40% of the world’s offshore oil production. In addition to providing precious minerals and energy source, the ocean’s fish are of great importance to the bordering countries for domestic consumption and export.
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