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India is one of the largest subcontinents in the world, with a diverse history that was influence by middle kingdoms and western countries. The Indian shipping industry blossomed under the rule of the British East India Company and later the British Empire. However, with its independence, the Republic of India has since grown exponentially in terms of economy becoming the 7th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP as well as the 3rd largest by purchasing power parity in the world as per the “World Economic Outlook Database” report issued by the International Monetary Fund in April 2017.

The Indian Ocean covers approximately 20% of the water on the Earth and is one of the most travelled seas connecting the east to the west/middle west, and known as the “Mine of Gems”. The Arabian Sea makes up the smaller portion of waters that touches the coasts of western India, Somalia, Saudi Arabia (as well as Oman and Yemen), Pakistan, and Iran. The Bay of Bengal covers the southeast coast of India, as well as west of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands belonging to India.

The majority of trade that occurs with the subcontinents of India is through ocean/sea cargo. Where the Indian shipping industry is considered of being in ownership of the largest merchant shipping fleet and is home to 199 ports and approximately 7500k of coastline. As the 16th largest maritime country in the world, the India shipping industry is a popular stop in international trade routes, both over sea and road.

With the observed trend of the Indian shipping industry, the Ministry for Shipping, Road Transport, and Highways has decided to investment in infrastructure development to growing needs including the development of ten coastal economic regions as well as continue the Sagarmala project. Furthermore, the government of the Republic of India has set aside goals for the Indian shipping industry in its 12th Five Year Plan and not to mention the Maritime Agenda for the 2010 -2020 decade plan, thus much is expected to improve in terms of the Indian Ocean market share.

With China making plans on the global shipping industry with its One Belt, One Road initiative to connect the east to the west over road, sea, and air, India too is looking to measure to stay aligned with the developments and trends in the region. One of the key players in the market share of the India Ocean trade routes is Sri Lanka, with China investing in the developments of the Hambantota and Colombo Port project. The eastern port of Trincomalee has been offered for foreign investment participation by the Sri Lankan government, but a play has yet to be made from India.

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