(Last Updated on : 10/04/2014)
Waterways in India are quite developed. During the past times, India was one of the seagoing countries. Seamen used to sail far and wide, transporting Indian commerce and culture. India was a primary ship-building country during the time of Napoleonic wars. It was only during the British dominion that it lost its reputation. India since Independence, has been trying to retrieve their doomed position.
It has to defend its extensive coastline and islands in the Arabian Sea
and Bay of Bengal
. It has to defend and expand coastal land deep-seal fisheries. India's territorial waters continue up to twelve nautical miles. It has some of its productive oil fields in the unfathomable sea, away from the shoreline. Bombay High oil field is 115 km west of the coast. The country's economic zone stretches over 200 km into the sea, down the shoreline. It is almost two million sq km in area and demands fortification.
Moreover, India's trade with neighbouring countries by land is insignificant. With its real long coastline and with the country's location near the major trading routes of the Indian Ocean
, its natural outlet is through the sea over which the maximum percentage of the entire foreign trade passes. Bulk of the coastal trade was handled by foreign ships till the year 1947. But, at present all the coastal trade is handled by ships belonging to the country. The extended waterways of the country help in the shipping trade. Near about four fifth of the total volume of foreign trade of India is handled by Mumbai
is the leading port of the country and it is followed by Kolkata.
e are actually three inland waterways that have the status of National Waterways. These are named as below:-
National Waterways 1 (NW - 1): Allahabad
to Haldia stretch (1620 km) of the Ganga-Bhagirathi River
-Hoogly River system.
National Waterways 2 (NW - 2): Sadiya-Dhubri stretch (891 km) of the Brahmaputra River
is a popular National Waterway.
National Waterways 3 (NW - 3): Kottapuram-Kollam stretch (168 km) of the West Coast Canal along with Champakara canal (923 km) and Udyogmandal canal (14 km).