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OCEAN POLICY STATEMENT

1. The oceans are known to be our last frontiers.Our long coast and the sense of adventure of our ancients fostered a great maritime tradition.The Indian Ocean which washes our shores provides opportunities which need to be utilised. For success in ocean development, the entire nation should be permeated  by  the spirit  of enterprise and the desire to explore the frontiers of knowledge.   Our  experience  in  other  fields   of   scientificendeavour will help our efforts in ocean development.What  is  necessary  is  a  policy  and structure to facilitate adynamic thrust keeping in view developments in other parts of theworld.

2. The adoption, by an overwhelming majority of nationsof  the  Convention  of  the  UN  Conference  on  the  Law of the Seas hasestablished a new international  order  for  the  oceans.    Thisextends  the  economic  jurisdiction of coastal states to an area ranging form 200 to 350 miles from the coastline.   According  tothis  regime,  nearly  2.02 million square kilometers of area, orearly two-third of the land mass has come under India's nationaljurisdiction.  In this  area,  the  exclusive  right  to  utiliseliving and  non-living resources vests with the nation.  Besides,India has been recognised as "Pioneer Investor"  in  an  area  ofupto  50000  square  kilometers in the deep seas for the recoveryand processing of polymetallic nodules.

3. For ages, the sea has enabled our people to sail to near and distant lands and has been a source of livelihood to large number of people. Even now Indian public and private enterprises do use ocean resources. the country is producing significant quantities of fish and hydrocarbons form the sea and much scientific work has been done in collecting basic knowledge and information about the sea and the seabed and in surveying, charting and exploiting it. Progress has also been made in construction and development of offshore structures.

  4. The vastness, complexity and uncertainty of ocean environment  call   for   a   coordinated,  centralised  and  highly be  sophisticated development response.   This  shouldbased  onadequate  knowledge  of  marine  space  (sea-bed,  water  and aircolumns included) as a fundamental prerequisite to  the  control, management  and  utilisation  of  the  rich  and  varied  natural  resources available in the sea.  In addition to  basic  knowledge to  determine the potentialities inherent in the Indian sea-space we have to develop  appropriate  technologies  to  harness  theseresources.    A   supporting  infrastructure  has  to  be  built.Effective systems of management and control of the entire set up are also  necessary.

   5. We  need  to  map  living resources, prepare an inventory ofcommercially  exploitable  fauna  and  to  map  and  assess   the availability of  minerals  from  the  deep  sea.   The supportinginfrastructure and incentives required are  research  vessesl  ofmanpower, well-laid out programmes of resource     different  types,exploitation, advanced technology  and  everything  necessary  topromote the  growth  of  ocean  technology.    In  the management sector, the high seas and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)  upto 320 kilometers have to be looked into for the exploitation of the wealth occurring therein.

   6. The   main   thrust   should   be   on the optimal utilisation of living   resources   like  fish  and  sea  weeds,  exploitation  of non-living  resources  such  as  hydrocarbons  and  heavy  placerdeposits, harnessing of renewable resources of ocean energy  fromwaves,   temperature  differences  in  the  water  column,  tidalheights, salinity gradients and the collection and processing  ofpolymetallic nodules from the deep sea.

   7. Marine   development   is   linked   with   scientific  andHence,       technological achievements in  other  areas.    while  we develop basic marine science and technology, i.e.  technology formarine  environment, our technological advances have to be gearedto the utilisation and preservation of  the  marine  environment.The  extension  of  national  frontiers  by  an area of 2 millionsquare kilometers of ocean space and the consequent access to new sources of energy, minerals and food, requires great  strides  in      ocean  engineering,  specially  in  tasks  related to structures,materials,   instrumentation,   submersibles   and   systems   ofpropulsion of  ships.  The exploitation of natural food resourcessuch as fish and sea weeds, and the generation of additional food    resources by cultivation, need scientific methods of  aquaculture     and mariculture.    To  survey and predict the ocean environment,     the main tasks necessary are seafloor mapping, charting, geodesy,     ocean  dynamics,  currents,  waves,   cyclones,   marine   fauna,     chemistry  and  physics of the oceans and seabed mineral mapping delineation and assessment.  Research in  all  these   areas  must      examine  the   various processes and their origins so as to have a     fundamental   understanding,  ensuring  predictive   capabilities.     Marine science and technology has also to look beyond the current      state-of-the-art to achieve major technological break-throughs in      the future.

 

   8. Besides research and development in basic sciences, we should     survey the  deeper part of the ocean.  Similarly in the deep sea,     detailed survey and sampling  in  the  regions  of  EEZ  and  the     adjacent ocean will be necessary to locate and evaluate the rich      and economically viable deposits of polymetallic  nodules,  heavy      metals, fossil  placers  and phosphorite deposits.  The gathering      of data from surveys should be coordinated and  a  cost-effective     system of integrated surveys be established.       

 

   9.   Much more needs to be done for the development of indigenous     technology for the exploitation of fish from deeper waters.  This     also means setting up of infrastructure facilities  and  services     to operate large sized fishing vessels.       

 

  10. An  important component of the development programme should     be acquisition  of  technology.    To   be   self-reliant,   such     technologies  would  have  to  be  largely  developed, tested and     operated indigenously.  Technologies relating to  instrumentation     of  diving  systems,  position  fixing  and position maintenance,     materials   development,   oceanic   data   collecting   devices,     anti-erosion capabilities  sumersibles,  energy and energy-saving     devices are priority items.  Several new technologies  will  have     to be commercialised and made cost effective.

 

 

  11. Infrastructural support forms an essential prerequisite for     ocean development.    The   variegated   infrastructure   already   available in the country will have to be appropriately augmented,     and  more particularly in basic supporting facilities like safety     and rescue at sea,  navigational  chains,  communication  network     development of  appropriate maps and chargs etc.  Infrastructural     support for providing a complete and reliable information  system     through a network of data centres on marine resources, processing     and   marketing  systems,  advanced  technologies  and  financial     assistance would also be necessary.  This requires  a  broadening     and   strengthening   of  available  infrastructural  facilities.     Provision of  adequate  ports  and  harbours,  ship-building  and     ship-repair  facilities  will  be  needed in addition to adequate     ports and harbours, ship-building and ship-repair facilities will     be needed in addition to adequate  skilled  manpower  in  various     sectors of development.

  12. Surveillance and conservation of the marine environment and     its resources call for an  integrated  legal  framework  and  its     concomitant enforcement.      Several   laws  have  already  been     formulated regarding the maritime zone, fisheries etc.  The Coast     Guard Organisation looks after the enforcement aspects of several     of these legislative measures.  The  coordinating  mechanisms  of     the  overall  structure  of  legislation will have to be suitably     strengthened  under  the  aegis  of  the  Department   of   Ocean     development.       

  13. In the light of this, we must have a database to coordinate     efforts made by  different  agencies.    This  is  all  the  more     necessary  because  of  the  rapid growth of information in ocean     science and technology.  A centralised data system will be set up     by the Department of Ocean Development with  a  proper  mechanism     for   collection   collation  and  dissemination  of  information     acquired both indigenously and from foreign sources.     

  14. The creation of a self-reliant  technological  base  puts  a     heavy demand on fully trained personnel.  The training of skilled     manpower is   to   be  adequately  planned.    Young  scientists,     technologists and engineers will be encouraged to participate  in     the  programme  of  ocean  development and steps will be taken to     induce Indian scientists from within the country  and  abroad  to     participate in it.       

  15. Existing agencies will have to be appropriately strengthened     to meet the demands of this growing challenge.  The Department of     Ocean   Development   will  function  in  conjuction  with  other     concerned agencies as a  focal  point  to  promote  institutional     capability in  areas  where  significant  work  is  lacking.  The     complex programme that ocean  development  entails  will  require     well  designed  management  and  institutional  extension  of the     Department of Ocean Development with sufficient powers  vis-a-vis     other agencies to help proper and speedy ocean development, which     enables India to be in the forefront of the International effort.     This  would  also mean close cooperation with both developing and     developed countries in a spirit of understanding of  the  concept     that the oceans are a common heritage of humankind.

 

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