Nalanda University to Offer a Course on Bay of Bengal


    In News

    • Recently Nalanda University has offered a certificate course on Bay of Bengal region.
      • This has the potential of strengthening India’s linkages with East Asian countries.

    More about the news

    • The Nalanda University(NU) now operates from its sprawling campus in Rajgir, Bihar.
    • The university offers ‘Bay of Bengal: An Introduction’ as a certificate course via online classes. 
      • NU also has plans to make the course available offline in the future. 
    • About the course: 
      • The three-week course will include lectures from experts on 
        • Navigation, fisheries, 
        • Track-II policies and 
        • Culture of countries involved with Bay of Bengal 
          • India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, USA, France, Germany, UK, Japan and Korea.
      • Course content:
        • The course content also includes the study of trade and commerce in the Bay of Bengal, traditional and non-traditional security, major sea lanes, energy and other resources, blue economy, sustainable development, coastal tourism, geopolitical competition, migration and refugees, piracy, pollution, traditions, art and architecture, religions, food, festivals, music, dance, clothing, movies and overall economic and ecological relevance of the bay today.
    • Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies:
      • PM Modi had also announced during the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit in Kathmandu, that the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies would be established at NU.
        • CBS (Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies) will conduct research on new fields as well as the historical and spiritual connections in order to assure connectedness through links and increase understanding of the bay and the broader Indo-Pacific region.
    • Significance of the Bay of Bengal region:
    • The Bay of Bengal is significant in terms of both India’s Act East Policy and the bay’s strategic orientations. 
    • India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) vision and the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative have also made it important for a specialised multidisciplinary research centre about the bay to be set up.

    About Nalanda University

    • History:
      • Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar) in India. 
      • It is considered by historians to be the world’s very first residential university and among the greatest centers of learning in the ancient world.
      • Establishment:
        • Nalanda was established during the Gupta Empire era and was supported by numerous Indian and Javanese patrons – both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.
      • Location:
        • The site is located about 95 kilometres southeast of Patna near the town of Bihar Sharif, and was a centre of learning from the fifth century CE to1200 CE.
    • Revival:
      • The President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam proposed the idea while addressing the Joint Session of the Bihar Vidhan Mandal for the revival of Nalanda University in 2006.
        • In 2007 the Bihar Legislative Assembly passed a bill for the creation of a new university.
      • The international university supported by 18 member countries was established by an Act of the Indian Parliament in 2010. 
        • It is designated as an Institute of National Importance (INI) and excellence. 
      • The decision to set up the university was endorsed at the second and fourth East Asia Summits. 

    India’s “Act East Asia” Policy

    • Announced in November 2014 is a diplomatic initiative to promote economic, strategic and cultural relations with the vast Asia-Pacific region at different levels.
    • It involves intensive engagement with Southeast Asian countries in the fields of: 
      • Connectivity, trade, culture, defence and people-to-people-contact at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
    • Significance of East Asia for India:
    • Eastern countries:
      • The eastern region of Asia consists of the Asian nations, Greater China (Greater China consists of the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), Japan, Mongolia, North Korea and South Korea.
    • Regional Security: 
      • Considering tension on the Korean Peninsula, South China and in the Taiwan Strait, among others, it is vital for Japan, China and South Korea to maintain a common stance and to share a common concern for security in the East Asian region.
    • Economic benefit: 
      • It represents nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population with 20 percent of global trade, and comprising 16 nations that are on a dynamic path of economic development.
    • Global Implications: 
      • An East Asia community would play a big role in instilling a sense of responsibility in Asian countries and in leading them jointly in contributing to the resolution of global issues.

    About BIMSTEC

    • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a multilateral regional organisation established with the aim of accelerating shared growth and cooperation between littoral and adjacent countries in the Bay of Bengal region.
    • Origin and Membership 
      • It was founded as BIST-EC, in June 1997, with the adoption of the Bangkok Declaration, with Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand as members.
      • It became BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation) with the entry of Myanmar in late 1997, And eventually, it was named in its current form, when Nepal and Bhutan became members in 2004.
    • Significance 
      • The BIMSTEC region hosts 22% of the world population or 1.68 billion people; and the member states have a combined GDP of US$3.697 trillion/per year.

    Source: TH