Let’s compare both the sides and then try to reach the conclusion:
- Maritime trade: India has a coastline of approximately 7500 km. This long coastline opened the gates to India for the world. India has been involved in maritime trade from 2400 BC onwards. Exporting spices, fine cloths, minerals etc. Presently India’s 12 major and 205 notified minor ports 95 percent of India’s trading by volume and 70 percent of India’s trading by value is done through maritime transport.
- Tourism: A long coastline provides potential for exotic, relaxing beaches which attracts tourists. 6 out of 10 most visited states by foreigners are those which have coastlines. A major portion of revenue for Goa and Andaman & Nicobar comes from tourism only.
- Monsoon: Monsoons are generally associated with Indian ocean. Good monsoons ensure good crops on which 61% of Indian population is dependent.
- Security: Seas are safer than land borders as most of the activities can be detected much before the enemy reaches near the land.
- Natural Resources: India Exclusive Economic Zone is rich in many minerals like manganese, cobalt, copper, lead, zinc, iron, nickel etc. It also has deposits of gold, silver, palladium, platinum oil and natural gas. Scientists are still researching and sustainable exploitation of these resources will be of great advantage to India. India can also overcome it’s freshwater scarcity by investing in seawater purification technology, which is used by several water scarce coastal countries.
- Fishing: Indian fisheries sector provides employment to around 14 million people, with annual export income in 2017-18 being Rs. 14000 crore.
- Natural Disasters: The coastal areas are very much prone to natural hazards like tsunami, cyclones and floods which results in loss of life, money and infrastructure.
- Expense on security: To secure our maritime borders, zones and marine assets India has to maintain Indian Navy as well as Indian Coast Guard. With modern technologies we always have to keep on modernizing these organizations with latest ships, submarines, helicopters & aircrafts and training and operational readiness of their personnel which costed India approximately Rupees 42,000 crore.
From the arguments presented above we can clearly see that a 7500 km long coastline is obviously a boon for India. Though we are spending Rs. 42,000 Crore on it’s security but had it been a land border instead of ocean, looking at the expenditure on India Army and India Air Force, we would have ended up spending more than what we are spending now.
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