Importance and Challenges in the Bay of Bengal Region

Relevance: Relevance, at the fourth BIMSTEC summit, the opening of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBS) at Nalanda University was announced.

Source: Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, The Hindu

Practice Question: The Bay of Bengal region has been historically important not just for South Asia but for the world. What are the contemporary challenges the region is facing?

Importance of the Bay of Bengal:

  • The Bay of Bengal has long been a major commerce hub for the Indian Ocean. It created a conduit between the East and the West in terms for trade and culture.
  • Realignment of global economic and military power towards Asia have had a considerable impact on the Bay region.
  • The key sea lanes of communication in this area are lifelines for global economic security and are crucial to the energy security that powers the economies of many countries in the region.
  • The Bay also provides an opportunity for greater regional cooperation in the environmentally friendly exploration of marine and energy resources.
  • The Bay has a biodiverse marine environment. It receives water from some of the world’s largest rivers. It is a partially enclosed sea that has given rise to several geological characteristics.
  • It is home to many rare and endangered marine species and mangroves, which are essential to the survival of the ecology and the fishing sector.


  • The region’s maritime environment has changed as a result of major powers expanding their economic and geopolitical influence. Political and cultural engagement, together with economic competition, have taken on new dimensions.
  • The Bay’s ecosystem is going through an unprecedented crisis brought on by widespread environmental exploitation and geopolitical unrest. Species extinction is a result of careless exploitation of the maritime environment, which 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.

Categories: POINT IAS

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