Differentiate between "Strait"and "Isthmus". Discuss the location of two straits and two isthmuses while focus on their economic and strategic importance.

Published: January 25, 2018

Strait is a navigable waterway that connects two large water bodies, while Isthmus is a thin strip of land that connects two larger areas of land.
Importance of control over Isthmuses and Straits

  • Control over straits and Isthmuses by a country helps it to establish good control over the connected sea and shipping lanes of the region.
  • It helps in exploring the wealth that lies beneath the sea in the form of minerals, oil and gas.
  • Countries with control over straits impose heavy charges on foreign ships passing through the straits.
  • It also helps to exploit the marine commercial activities like aquaculture
  • Isthmuses are key sites for communications and cultural exchange, as well as military outposts.

All above mentioned factors make Isthmuses and Straits strategically as well as economically of great importance.
Two Isthmuses and their importance

  • Isthmus of Panama is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This strait is of great economic importance and links North and South America.
  • Isthmus of Suez is a strip of land that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It connects the continents of Africa and Asia together.

Two Straits and their importance

  • Strait of Hormuz- It is a stretch of water between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman that provides sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean in the region. About 20 percent of the world petroleum traded via sea route is transported through this strait. This makes the strait of great economic and strategic importance to Middle East countries. Control over the Strait of Hormuz by countries has remained a controversial subject. However, currently, Iran and Oman share territorial rights over the same.
  • Strait of Malacca- It is a narrow stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and Indonesian island of Sumatra.  It is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean that connects the Asian economies via sea route. Nearly, 60000 to 94,000 merchant ships, oil and gas cargos sail annually through this strait.

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