Expanding India’s current port infrastructure has immense strategic value. Do you agree? Substantiate.
भारत के मौजूदा पोर्ट इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर के विस्तार का अत्यधिक रणनीतिक महत्व है। क्या आप सहमत हैं? प्रमाणित करें।
Candidates can start the answer by writing on Indian ports and its importance for trade and security. In the main part of answer write about how port infrastructure can give India strategic value in IOR and greater global connectivity.
Ports infrastructure is key to the development of any nation. India needs to modernize its ports with operational efficiency to achieve greater global engagement and for maritime security.
Ports and shipping industry in India is critical to the country’s Strategic value:
- Ensure the security of strategic installations: Port development will result in the development of India’s coasts, which are home to a number of strategic installations such as naval bases, nuclear power plants, and satellite and missile launching ranges.
- Curtailing transnational organized crime at sea: India is vulnerable to narcotic drug trafficking because it is between the world’s two main opium-producing regions, the Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) to the west and the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos) to the east.\Such illegal practices would be curtailed by port expansion and proper management of port resources, ensuring the safety of communication sea lanes (SLOC).
- Regional integration: South Asia is one of the least integrated regions in the world, and India’s eastern seaboard can help recreate an integrated hub and spoke model for regional connectivity in the Bay of Bengal.
- Countering the influence of China: China has aggressively exacerbated India’s pre-existing Sri Lanka-linked trans-shipment problem through its Belt and Road Initiative. China holds a 99-year lease on Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port. As a result, port expansion and local trans-shipment facilities are critical strategic requirements for India.
- Net Security Provider in the IOR: Many western countries are hedging on India’s ability to counter China in the IOR. India could hedge on their support to realize its ambition of Net Security Provider in the IOR by enhancing its coastal security and ensuring port modernizations and its connectivity with the hinterland.
- Environment: The Indian Ocean is warming three times faster than the Pacific Ocean. Overfishing, coastal degradation, and pollution are also harming the marine ecosystem. Hence, good design and sound environmental impact management of construction and operational activities of the port are critical.
Challenges faced by the Port infra in India:
- Infrastructure Bottleneck: Indian ports are plug with the lack of capacity and low productivity. The high turnover time and freight costs make Indian ports less competitive.
- Logistics Bottleneck: The port productivity and efficiency also depend upon the quality and reliability of road and rail connectivity, and adequate storage and handling facilities.
- Technology Bottleneck: Major international ports are using advanced innovations and information technology to change the way goods are transported between port terminals.
Maritime security and port infrastructure will play a vital role in achieving a robust economic growth and strategic upper hand in the IOR. Thus, the Government has to support the development of world-class port infrastructure in India to make Indian ports globally competitive.