Matters maritime have garnered renewed focus over the last few years. Despite the fact that seas and oceans have had a vast impact on civilizations for centuries, for many decades during the latter half of the past century the attention of countries had shifted from a maritime perspective to a continental one. With remarkably growing economic interdependencies post globalization and with the rise of China as the world’s biggest manufacturer and an emerging maritime power, the significance of maritime connectivity has come back to the fore. This is especially true for the Indian Ocean region, which is surrounded by many littoral countries that are becoming economically stronger and politically more visible. And in the Indian Ocean Region, the Bay of Bengal holds the key to act as the forerunner for enhanced bilateral and multilateral engagement.
Given that besides major Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs), the busiest shipping route – the East-West shipping route – passes very close to the Bay of Bengal, the importance of this maritime space in global geopolitics is immense. Because of this, there are possibilities of this maritime space being witness to conflict. It is imperative therefore to put in place mechanisms that would deter conflict and instead facilitate dialogue and constructive engagement among the major actors. Security and the sustainable exploitation of maritime resources are vital for avoiding an adverse circumstance that would be detrimental to the regional dynamics of not only trade but also maritime security.
In this dynamic situation, it is important to understand two broad aspects: a) the interests of local, regional as well as global powers; and b) the key threats that pose a risk to free and open maritime space and sustainable exploitation of maritime resources. There is a renewed drive to revive the age-old sea links that once connected the coastal areas of littorals in multiple ways. Presently, the extent of maritime connectivity among rim states in this region varies, and often, these links are subject to political shifts which affect seamless operations. Improved connectivity would facilitate enhanced economic exchanges, and also have a positive impact on cultural and political ties. In addition to this, better maritime links would also make way for improved security of the oceans and thus in turn lead to better management of resources.
The need for a rules-based maritime order as crucial to safeguarding the oceans and seas has been underscored repeatedly in recent years. The acknowledgement and echoing of such a format of maritime order signals the intent of countries concerned to maintain the stability and operability in the Bay and in the larger Indian Ocean space. Acknowledging the vital need for safeguarding the Bay of Bengal, this issue of the Journal of the Indian Ocean Region would delve into the following broad themes:
a. What makes the Bay of Bengal vital to geopolitics and geo-economics?
b. The centrality of connectivity in the Bay.
c. Key threats in the Bay of Bengal.
d. Can there be functional alliances or will there be persistent uncertainties?
e. Is it time for a rules-based order in the Bay for maritime governance?
Articles in this issue of the Journal would deliberate these pressing concerns and estimate the possibilities of establishing and maintaining secure maritime spaces for strengthened connectivity.
How to Submit
Please submit your proposal before 31 October 2018 to the Commissioning Editor of the journal: Dr. Adela Alfonsi: email@example.com.
Special Edition November 2019
Guest Editors: Prof. Rakhahari Chatterji, Advisor, ORF Kolkata
Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury, Fellow, ORF Kolkata
Abstracts: 31 October 2018
Full paper: 31 January 2019
Publication in hard copy: November 2019
- Guest Editor: Professor Rakhahari Chatterji, ORF Kolkata
- Guest Editor: Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury, ORF Kolkata