BHARATA WAS PIONEER IN SHIP BUILDING AND OCEAN TRADE TILL BRITISHERS DESTROYED THE SHIP BUILDING INDUSTRY!!
Shipbuilding industry aroused the jealousy of British firms and its progress and development were restricted by legislation.
The Indian shipping industry was hit by the Portuguese, Dutch and English in that order. While the Indian cotton industry was hit by the ban on import of cotton into England, it lost hold over traditional markets like Persia due to loss of naval power. By imposition of various discriminatory duties, the ship building industry was killed.
In the Shanti Parvan (59, 41) of the Mahabharata it is said that the navy is one of the angas (part) of the complete army, and Mahabharata is 3128BCE !!!
Boat-making and ship-building industries were found in India since ancient times. In the Vedic period, sea was frequently used for trade purposes. The Rig Veda mentions "merchants who crowd the great waters with ships". The Ramayana speaks of merchants who crossed the sea and bought gifts for the king of Ayodhya. Manu legislates for safe carriage and freights by river and sea. In some of the earliest Buddhist literature we read of voyages ‘out of sight’ of land, some lasting six months or so.
In Kautalya Arthasastra the admiralty figures as a separate department of the War Office; and this is a striking testimony to the importance attached to it from very early times. In the Rg Veda Samhita boats and ships are frequently mentioned. The classical example often quoted by every writer on the subject is the naval expedition of Bhujya who was sent by his father with the ship which had a hundred oars (aritra). Being ship-wrecked he was rescued by the twin Asvins in their boat.