India and the Blue Economy: Synergies in the neighbourhood
28th Oct, 2022
Recently, the Seychelles hosted the ‘BlueInvest Africa conference ‘(September 7-9, 2022), where European and African companies met to exchange ideas, business strategies and investments related to Blue Economy. This has brought the discussions highlighting the countries quest for harnessing the blue economy including India.
What is Blue Economy?
- The Indian Blue Economy Task Force defines it as: The Blue Economy encompasses a wide range of economic activities pertaining to sustainable development of resources and assets in the oceans, related rivers, water bodies and coastal regions – in a manner that ensures equity, inclusion, innovation and modern technology.
India and the Blue Economy:
- India’s engagement in the Blue Economy is rising, as the country issues policy proposals, and actively participates in international and regional dialogues on the Blue Economy, maritime and marine cooperation.
- The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) published the Blue Economy Vision 2025, which states that the Blue Economy’s impacts are not limited to the ocean but these are crucial for countries’ food security, poverty, resilience against dangerous consequences of climate change, maritime cooperation, job opportunities and countries’ socio-economic growth.
- India has greater potential to foster cooperation in the Indian Ocean to design blue economic strategies.
- Since sustainability and climate are on top of the international agendas and in vision of the upcoming G20’s presidency, India looks forward to ideate concrete Blue Economy policies.
- The Indian ministry of earth sciences plans to publish a National Policy on the Blue Economy which is still in its draft form.
- The proposal identifies the great contribution the Blue Economy can make to India’s Gross Domestic Product.
- With the ocean economic activities and governance, the preservation of marine biodiversity and resources is stressed.
India and Regional Cooperation for Blue Economy:
- The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is the principal regional body to bring 21 members, seven dialogue partners and two observers for roundtables on Ocean activities.
- The organisation has six priority areas:
- Maritime safety and security,
- trade and investment facilitation,
- fisheries management,
- disaster risk reduction,
- academic and scientific cooperation,
- Tourism and cultural exchanges.
- IORA’s summits successfully enhanced the agenda on the Blue Economy, sustainable employment and economic growth.
- Moreover, two programmes are largely contributing to advance ocean cooperation and the Blue Economy in the Indian Ocean: The Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
- Sagarmala Project: The Sagarmala project is the strategic initiative for port-led development through the extensive use of IT enabled services for modernization of ports.
- O-SMART: India has an umbrella scheme by the name of O-SMART which aims at regulated use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development.
- Integrated Coastal Zone Management: It focuses on conservation of coastal and marine resources, and improving livelihood opportunities for coastal communities etc.
- National Fisheries Policy: India has a National Fisheries policy for promoting 'Blue Growth Initiative' which focuses on sustainable utilization of fisheries wealth from marine and other aquatic resources.