Geoscientific studies of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone


India, a traditionally maritime country with rich maritime heritage, has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of more than 2 million sq km wherein India enjoy the exclusive legal right to utilize all living and non-living resources. The project mainly focuses on mapping the entire EEZ of India using the state-of-the art technologies of Multibeam apart from systematic sediment sampling and its analysis. The entire EEZ have been divided into two areas viz. deep water areas (> 500 m water depth) and shallow water areas (< 500 m water depth).

This is a continuing programme of the Ministry spill over from the 10th plan and will be continued during the 12th Five Year Plan. By implementing the programme, a clear picture of our exclusive economic zone will emerge. The comprehensive detailed bathymetric map of the EEZ will be helpful to mariners, navigators, planners, fisheries and mineral resource, researchers and many more. This benefit would be enormous as the information on EEZ is essential for all round development of the coastal regions.

Systematic mapping of the Indian EEZ utilising state-of-the-art muitibeam bathymetric instruments was initiated during the XI Plan period, and to date,nearly 30% of the deep‐water regions of the EEZ beyond 500 M water depth has been mapped. Some of the significant observations include the presence of channel‐levée systems between Ninety east Ridge to its west and Andaman Trench in east. Two Seamounts off Lakshadweep, and pockmarks on the seabed off‐Goa. In addition to bathymetric observations, sampling of the seabed-subseabed at select locations has also been carried out and the analytical studies are in progress. Considering the large area of the Indian EEZ in more than 2 million sq km and the need to extend the studies to the continental shelf areas beyond 200 M in view of India’s submission for an extended continental shelf to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), it is proposed to continue the bathymetric mapping and systematic sampling on a mission mode using a dedicated chartered oceanographic vessel during the XII Plan.

a) Objectives:

  1. Preparation of a comprehensive seabed topographic map for the entire EEZ of the country using the state-of-the-art technologies of multibeam swath bathymetry..
  2. To carryout systematic sediment sampling and analyze to assess potential of seabed resources within the EEZ
  3. To improve our understanding of the seabed morphology and enhance our knowledge of the existing scientific issues such as paleoclimatic regime of Indian peninsula.
  4. Creation of a state-of-the-art marine geoscientific database facilitating its archival and retrieval for dissemination to the scientific community against approved projects of the MoES.

b) Participating Institutions

  1. National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research, Goa
  2. National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai
  3. National Institute of Oceanography, Goa

c) Implementation Plans:

The studies of the EEZ area falling within water depths of <500 m would be carried out by NIO and NIOT, while NCPOR would be responsible for the studies in water depths of >500m. NCPOR would also be the nodal agency responsible for the implementation of this program in its entirety including development of a web-based marine geoscientific database.

The existing project shall be continued in the forthcoming plan period too, with the same objectives and goals. The project would be implementation in two parallel streams as different multibeam specifications would be required for shallow water (20-500 m depth) and deep water surveys (beyond 500 m depth).

d) Deliverables:

The studies planned would provide (a) a comprehensive seabed map of the country’s EEZ, and (b) a wealth of information on the seabed-subseabed sediment characteristics, which would be of particular significance for offshore mineral exploration as well as paleoclimatology

  1. Comprehensive deep seafloor bathymetric map of the entire EEZ of India
  2. Analysis, interpretation and identification of various geomorphological features in the EEZ of India
  3. Archival of Sediment core samples collected from EEZ of India for the purpose of any future analysis
  4. Geochemical and sedimentological analysis to assess the potential seabed resources as well as to enhance knowledge about paleo-climatic regime

e) Budget requirement :122 crores

(Rs. In crores)

Budget Requirement
Name of the Scheme 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Total
EEZ Surveys 25.00 24.00 24.00 25.00 24.00 122.00


Last Updated On 03/12/2021 - 11:14
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