Key Facts about Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

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India needs to work on finding alternate trade routes in the sea, as heavy reliance on the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait could impact the country's trade with the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, economic think tank GTRI said recently.

About Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

  • It is a strait of great strategic and economic importance, connecting the Red Sea in the northwest to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean in the southeast.
  • It also separates Arabia, in the northeast, from the African continent, in the southwest.
  • It further acts as a link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.
  • The name of the strait, Bab el-Mandeb means “Gate of Tears” in Arabic, referring to the large number of shipwrecks that have occurred in this region. 
  • The strait is 30 kilometers (KM) wide and is divided into two channels by the Yemeni island of Perim, with the eastern channel being called Alexander’s Strait and is around 3 kilometers wide, while the western-lying Dact-el-Mayun Channel is 26 kilometers wide.
  • The flow through this strait provides for the circulation between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, since no flow takes place through the Suez Canal. 

Q1) What is a Strait?

A strait is a narrow waterway between two pieces of land that connects two large bodies of water. Well-known straits include the Bering Strait, which links the Arctic Ocean with the Bering Sea and separates the continents of Asia and North America at their closest point. The Strait of Gibraltar, located between Spain and Africa, connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. The Strait of Magellan lies between the southern tip of South America and the islands of Tierra del Fuego and links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Source: Reliance on Bab-el-Mandeb Strait may hit eco: GTRI