The Bay of Bengal occupies the northeastern end of the Indian Ocean. It borders India to the west, Bangladesh to the north, Myanmar to the east, and Sri Lanka and Indonesia to the south. It is the largest bay in the world, covering over 839,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean. The bay is an important resource for the bordering and neighboring states of China, Nepal, Thailand, and Bhutan. It is a vital shipping route that benefits the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The Bay of Bengal is located in one of the world's most developed regions with rapidly growing economies. It hosts some of the largest ports in the world and provides a trading route for several countries. India, China, and Bangladesh have a maritime corporation with Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand to counter terrorism and keep the vital trading route open. China has strengthened its influence in the region by developing ports in Bangladesh and Myanmar. The United States also has naval cooperation with Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India.
Economic Importance Of The Bay
All the countries bordering the Bay of Bengal have developed fishing industries that employ millions of people and generate billions of dollars in revenue.As of 2015 more than 2 million people were full-time employees in the fish industry while about 10 million were part-time.Fish account for more than 15% of the total exports of Bangladesh and the sector continues to experience significant growth. India and Sri Lanka have emphasized on coastal aquaculture along the coast of the bay and as a result, the countries are exporting shrimp and rare species of fish.
Despite not having a direct coastline along the Bay of Bengal, Thailand has benefited the most from the proximity to the bay. The country's coastline along the Andaman Sea attracts thousands of tourists, especially during the summer. The tourism sector in Sri Lanka has also developed despite years of civil war in the north.Cities in Southern India have also witnessed a growth in the tourism sector.
The Bay of Bengal is an important transport hub for the bordering and neighboring countries. Sri Lanka’s Port of Colombo handles over 6 million containers annually while the Port of Chittagong in Bangladesh handles 3 million containers. The significant growth of India's economy necessitated the development and modernization of the Port of Chennai to handle over two million containers.
Oil And Gas Reserves
Recent survey studies have discovered vast reserves of natural gas and oil in the Bay of Bengal. Geologists believe that the bay holds more oil reserves than any other place in the Asia-Pacific region. Both China and India have exhibited interest in exploring and mining oil in the bay.