Bay of Bengal,Emerging Themes in Indian Foreign Policy,Maritime

India’s maritime connectivity: Importance of the Bay of Bengal

The Bay of Bengal is increasingly gaining salience as a strategic maritime space. Maritime trade and maritime connectivity, after all, have been the oldest forms of cross-cultural and cross-civilisational interaction, and this has been manifested in the Bay. Covering more than two million square kilometres, the Bay is situated between vital sea routes and stretches from Sri Lanka, up the coast of eastern India, curving under Bangladesh and Myanmar, and heading south along Thailand and Malaysia, until it reaches the northern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. The waterways have been used as a primary medium of trade and have provided the impetus for the growth of maritime enterprises for their densely populated littoral countries. This report examines the dynamics of India's maritime connectivity in the Bay of Bengal. It appraises the geopolitical, geostrategic and geoeconomic dimensions of the connectivity linkages between India and the Bay adjacent countries—Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka—along with India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with respect to trade, population flow and fiscal connectivity. The report also delves into the strategic imperatives of the role and interest of major powers in the Bay of Bengal.

Author(s)

Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury

Pratnashree Basu

Sohini Bose

Sreeparna Banerjee