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CONTEMPORARY ISSUE Indian Coast Guard

Moyna Srivastava Sophia College Roll no 3759 TYBMM

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India
INDIA is one of the oldest civilisations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved multifaceted socio-economic progress during the last 59 years of its Independence. India has become self-sufficient in agricultural production, and is now the tenth industrialised country in the world and the sixth nation to have gone into outer space to conquer nature for the benefit of the people. It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq km, extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the seventh largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends between latitudes 8°4' and 37°6' north, longitudes 68°7' and 97°25' east, and measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km.

Introduction to Maritime History
What Vasco Da Gama and his successor introduced into Indian history was the claim to an exclusive control of the seas, a conception wholly at variance with what had been accepted as the “natural law” both in Europe and in Asia. The might of Portugal was organised in order to enforce such a claim and Alfonso Albuquerque by conquering Socotra, Ormuz and Malaca and by organizing an impregnable territorial base in India. From that time till today the ocean has dominated India.

3 During the world war II, United Nation of America abstained from the war till 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor (or Hawaii Operation, as it was called by the Imperial General Headquarters) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, later resulting in the United States becoming militarily involved in World War II. If one would see the movie, Pearl harbour starting Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, then one could understand the psyche of Japan. Japan feared the pacific fleet reason being, Japan wanted to advance into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, where they sought access to natural resources such as oil and rubber. And therefore Japan wanted to terminate the US fleet and win the war. “He who rules on the sea will shortly rule on the land also” declared Khaireddin Barbarossa to Suleiman the Magnificent, the most glorious of the Ottoman sultans. For example, the British Empire ruled on the land as they had superior fleet. There was a saying about the British Empire, ‘sun never set on the British Empire’. It is true that till the beginning of the sixteenth century oceanic problems had not intruded themselves on the history of mainland India. The reasons for this were obvious. Firstly till the 13th century Indian waters were in Indian hands. The Chola dynasty had a very strong navy to guard the coastline. The Cholas are attributed to be amongst the earliest kingdoms to posses a powerful navy that could threaten neighbouring countries. Raja Rajan Cholan was arguably responsible for leading the 2nd Golden Age of Tamil Nadu. After his decisive victories over the Cheras and Pandias, he turned his attention to the Sinhalese King Mahinda V. He assembled the navy and sent it on a conquest of Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands. The Chola Navy defeated King Mahinda. In the period

4 984-1042 CE, his sons also dispatched great naval expeditions against the empire of Srivijaya. These expeditions occupied parts of Burma, Malaya, Java, Sumatra, and the Andoman & Nicobar Islands, while suppressing piracy in Southeast Asia. Apart from the royal navy, a consortium of powerful Chola merchants known as the Nootruvar Kuzhaam (Group of One Hundred) were allowed by the king to operate their own navy in order to protect their merchant vessels from pirates. Even after the downfall of Cholas the Arabs, who came in through the sea route, were only commercial navigators and were not the instruments of any national policy, nor did they have the support of any organised government. In fact till the Portuguese came to Calicut in the year 1498, no naval power had appeared on Indian waters. Even the Mughal’s had not realized the importance of sea. It was only when the Sidis of Janjira offered their service against the growing Maratha power on the sea that Aurangazib gave his half hearted recognition to a fleet being organised on a reasonable scale. Khalif Omar wrote to his General Amr asking him what was the sea like, to which he replied, “the sea was a huge beast which silly folk ride like worms on logs.” Omar ordered that no Moslem should risk his life on such an unruly element without his express orders. Due to this in the 200 year of Mughal rule in India, the Indian seas were entirely under alien control. ‘Father

of the Indian Navy’- Shivaji Maharaj

The importance of Indian sea came to be recognized by the Indian ruler only when it was too late. The Maratha warrior Shivaji was the only ruler to tap the importance of having a navy. Shivaji being close to the Portuguese’s base of Goa immediately initiated a policy of naval expansion and ruled the Konkan waters.

5 Shivaji realized the importance of having a secure coastline and protecting the western Konkan coastline from the attacks of Siddi’s fleet. He had realized the tactical advantage of having a strong navy and decided to purse this idea. Shivaji was concerned about the growing dominance of British India naval forces over Indian waters and start building his navy forces to tackle this issue. For this very reason he is referred to as the “Father of Indian Navy”. Portuguese letter dated 6th August 1659 reads, “A son of Shahaji, rebel against Adilshah, has captured the areas near Bassein (Vasai) & Chaul. He has grown strong. He has constructed some fighting vessels in the Bhiwandi, Kalyan & Panvel ports of the Bassein region. We are therefore forced to remain alert. We have ordered the Portuguese captain not to allow these vessels to come out of the ports & see that they do not move out on the seas.” Shivaji was threat to all his enemies. He was in full control of kalyan & began navy – building activities by 1658. The work of building 20 fighting vessels started under trained hands. According to Shivaji, ostensibly the navy was to be used against the Siddis, but in reality his aim went far beyond. Shivaji was not only aware of the use of a good navy but he also knew the importance of coastline security. As the Konkan came increasingly under possession, Shivaji started building number of coastal fortresses such as Padmadurg, Vijaydurg, Suvarnadurg, Sindhudurg & other small to afford protection to his coastal navy & to watch & to curb the activities of the Portuguese. So therefore one can conclude that its not only important to have good navy to gain dominance on see but also need to have a coastline security to ensure safety of the naval ship for the eyes of the enemy.

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INDIAN COASTGUARD
OUR MOTTO
TO PROTECT OUR OCEAN AND OFFSHORE WEALTH INCLUDING OIL, FISH AND MINERALS: TO ASSIST MARINERS IN DISTRESS AND SAFEGUARD LIFE AND PROPERTY AT SEA: TO ENFORCE MARITIME LAWS WITH RESPECT TO SEA, SHIPPING, POACHING, SMUGGLING AND NARCOTICS: TO PRESERVE MARINE ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY AND PROTECT RARE SPECIES: TO COLLECT SCIENTIFIC DATA AND BACK-UP THE NAVY DURING WAR

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Need for the Coast Guard
The need for a Coast Guard force in India, to perform various non-military maritime roles had been felt for sometime, particularly by Naval Headquarters. It was however, not until 31 Aug 1974 that a serious official consideration was given to this problem when the Defence Secretary addressed a note to the Cabinet Secretary, spelling out the need for setting up of a Coast Guard type national organisation. In essence the Defence Secretary’s note brought out that an organisation for ensuring safety of life and property at sea and for law enforcement in the waters under our jurisdiction (national waters) had not kept pace with the substantial increase in maritime activity in our surrounding seas. The note had further suggested that a suitable interministerial body could examine the adequacy of the existing organisations and the possibility of closer coordination between their activities either by merging some or establishing a central organisation like a Coast Guard. In this context, the Chief of the Naval Staff had also stressed the need for greater inter-ministerial coordination in the maritime field to avoid duplication of effort and for dovetailing measures to ensure that the national objectives are attained by an integrated approach. It was also felt that the law enforcement activities should not be undertaken by the Navy, which would inevitably detract them from their operational role and interfere with their training. Further, deployment of sophisticated warships and manpower trained for specialised roles, on law enforcement tasks on a continuous basis in peace time neither was nor considered costeffective.

How and Why?
Emergence of the Coast Guard in India on 01 Feb 1977 as a new service was the result of an awareness that had been growing for some time in the Government for the requirement to enforce National Laws in the waters under national jurisdiction and ensure safety of

9 life and property at sea. The Indian Coast Guard is designed on guideline layout by Coast Guards of advanced nations like USA, UK etc leaving the Navy to exercise the fleet for its wartime role. The Sea borne smuggling across the seas was rampant towards the end 1960’s threatening the economy of our country. The blue print of terror attack of 1993 Mumbai blast prove large scale smuggling racket that was engulfing the country. The five Customs patrol craft operated by the Indian Navy for the Central Board of Excise & Customs were grossly inadequate to deter the smugglers. To augment the anti-smuggling effort, as an interim measure, 13 confiscated dhows were inducted despite their inherent limitations, to support the existing fleet. However, this entire force level was only marginally effective to contain the large-scale smuggling activity. The problem of checking sea-borne smuggling traffic was compounded by: • Long coastline without any effective coverage. • Extensive fishing activity close to the shores complicated the identification of illegal traffic, particularly when there was no effective system in force for registering the fishing craft/boats. • Necessity to intercept illegal vessels within the territorial waters. • High speed vessels being used by the smugglers. (Nag Chaudhari Committee Report)

In the backdrop of large scale sea–borne smuggling, the Cabinet Secretariat, in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s directive, on 23 Jan 1970, constituted a study group under the chairmanship of Dr. BD Nag Chaudhari with Air Chief Marshal O.P.Mehra and Admiral RD Katari IN (Retd) amongst others, as members to examine and report on: •

Number and nature of craft to be acquired to meet the immediate requirements of anti-smuggling task. Sources of supply and their availability in the world market to meet the operational requirement. Suitability of hovercraft, helicopter and other aircraft for anti-smuggling operations.

10 The Nag Choudhari Committee in its report submitted in Aug 1971 recommended that there is an immediate need to build our anti-smuggling capabilities on a three-tier system -Indigenous construction and early acquisition of surface craft for anti-smuggling measures. Hovercraft, in the role of fast interceptor was the choice for immediate augmenting of our limited anti-smuggling capability till the new fast surface crafts were acquired. Acquisition of surveillance aircraft in a phased programme could be similarly geared up at a convenient stage. On 03 May 1973, a meeting under the chairmanship of Shri VC Shukla, the Minister for Defence Production, was held to expedite the acquisition of suitable boats for the Customs. The requirement of two types of patrol boat was felt – a large size patrol boat with 1000 NM range and a max speed of 30 knots, fitted with light armament and for capacity of 16 crew members and a small boat of higher speed, fitted with light armament, to carry 12 crew members. In the inter-ministerial meeting (in which both the Minister for Defence Production and Minister of Revenue and Expenditure were present), it was agreed that the medium boats should also be acquired in pursuance of the recommendations of the Nag Chaudhari Committee. In a subsequent meeting with the Ministry of Defence Production on 22 Nov 1973, the customs indicated a requirement of 20 modified SDB Mark-II type for their department.

Key Step – MOD Paper
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) thereupon prepared a paper for consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affair (CCPA) seeking approval for: • •

Taking necessary steps to set up a Coast Guard organisation. Appointing an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Ministry of Defence in the rank of Vice Admiral with a nucleus Headquarters and appropriate staff to prepare a detailed plan for the Coast Guard Organisation.

Creation of an interim Coast Guard Force with two frigates seconded by the Navy and transferring of five patrol vessels from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

11 On 07 Jan 1977, the Cabinet approved the proposal for the setting up an interim Coast Guard Organisation within the Navy to undertake specified Coast Guard tasks. The CCPA directed that the budgetary provision for the Coast Guard should be under a separate head in the estimates of the Department of Revenue and Banking. Further, it had also directed that a detailed plan for the development of the Coast Guard should be drawn up.

Duties and Functions
1. It shall be the duty of the Coast Guard to protect by such measures, as it thinks fit the maritime and other national interests of India in the maritime zones of India. 2. Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of subsection -(a), the measures referred to therein may provide for: –
o

Ensuring the safety and protection of artificial islands, offshore terminals, installations and other structures and devices in any maritime zone Providing protection to fishermen including assistance to them at sea while in distress Taking such measures as are necessary to preserve and protect the maritime environment and to prevent and control marine pollution. Assisting the customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations Enforcing the provisions of such enactment as are for the time being in force in the maritime zones and Such other matters, including measures for the safety of life and property at sea and collection of scientific data as may be prescribed.

o

o

o o

o

3. The Coast Guard shall perform its functions under this section in accordance with, and subject to such rules as may be prescribed and such rules may, in particular, make provisions for ensuring that the Coast Guard functions in close liaison with Union agencies, institutions and authorities so as to avoid duplication of effort.

The Major Achievements of ICG during the last few years in implementing the Maritime Law is as follows:

12 Sl. Achievement (a) Poaching boats apprehended (b) Smuggling vessels apprehended Contraband (c) confiscated (d) Lives saved at sea 2004 21 01 03 Crores 2005 20 --2006 27 03 238.58 Crores 321 2007 21 Nil Nil 2008* 27 04 5.5 Lakhs

1111 789 195 247 24 13 20 19 23 (Ship (Merchant (Merchant ( Marchant ( Marchant Ships saved from 01, (e) Ships –05, Ships –01 Ships --09 Ships --02 distress Fishing Fishing Fishing Fishing Fishing Vessel-22) Vessel-19) Vessel-12) Boats --11) Boats --17) (f) Sea pollution averted -01 11 01 -Sea pollution (g) 02 03 02 Nil Nil combated * till 30 Jun 2008

Force Level
The Coast Guard, in 1978 began with two old frigates seconded by the Navy and five small patrol vessels from MHA. Over the past two decades, it has attained a force level of 65 ships and craft and 44 aircraft and helicopters as follows:• • • • • • • • • • • • •

AOPV - 05 Offshore Patrol Vessels - 09 Fast Patrol Vessels - 11 Inshore Patrol Vessel - 13 Seaward Defence Boats - 02 Hovercraft - 06 Interceptor Boats - 12 ICs (Vadyar Class) - 08 ICs (Bristol Class) - 01 Hovercraft - 06 Dornier Aircraft - 24 Chetak Helicopter - 17 ALH – 04

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Ship Class Type In Service: Sankalp class Samar class Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel

Origin

Displacement In service Notes

India India

2300 tons 2005 tons 1220 tons 200 tons 2.4 tons 5.5 tons

2 4 9 13 8 4 10 8 7 2 5 6

Vikram class Offshore Patrol Vessel Jijabai Class Inshore Patrol Vessels Vadyar ClassInterceptor Craft Bristol Class Interceptor Craft Interceptor Boat Fast Patrol Vessel Extra Fast Patrol Vessel (XFPV) Seaward Defence Boat Inshore Patrol Craft Air Cushion Vehicle (Hovercraft) Under Construction/Order: Sankalp Class Samudra Class Vishwasta class Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel Pollution Control Vessel (PCV) Offshore Patrol Vessel Inshore Patrol Vessel Interceptor Boat India India India India India India India

49 tons 215 tons 270 tons 203 tons

Republic of 32 tons Korea United Kingdom N.A.

2230 tons 3300 tons 1800 tons 275 tons 75 tons

1 being built 3 being built 1 launched + 2 on order 2 being built + 3 on order 2 in service 5 more

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+ 11 being planned built

Aircraft inventory
Aircraft HAL Dhruv Aérospatiale SA 316 Alouette III Origin India France Type Utility helicopter Utility helicopter transport German Dornier Do 228 y India patrol search and rescue Do 228101 24 18 bu Versions In service[8] 4 SA 316B 17 Notes

Manpower
The Coast Guard, a small force of 5440 uniformed personnel (633 officers, 4580 enrolled personnel including 82 officers and 145 personnel from the Navy and other Defence Services on deputation) is taking on the ever-increasing responsibilities in protecting the nation's interest in the maritime zones. At present, about 70% of these personnel are serving at sea or manning the front line squadrons to operate 65 ships and 44 aircraft. This is an enviable tooth to tail ratio by any standards. The cut down in the Coast Guard strength is basically to share the naval resources in training and logistics to avoid duplication of effort.

Rank Structure
Coast Guard Rank Structure is Equivalent to Indian Navy Rank Structure
Director General Inspector General Deputy Inspector General + Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore

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Deputy Inspector General Commandant Deputy Commandant Assistant Commandant Assistant Commandant † Assistant Commandant ◊ Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander Lieutenant Acting Lieutenant Midshipman

+ With three years seniority † Under training after completion of Phase III afloat training and during sub courses ◊ Under training after completion of Phase II afloat training

What about 26\11?
The 26/11 attack is a blessing in disguise, no matter how ridiculous this statement might seem but this attack has brought into limelight many loopholes that the government has been turning a blind eye to. It was not only an terror attack where the true test of courage was show or where innocent people fell to sleep but also an event when country woke up to the reality of 7500 Km of desolated coastline. Referring to the article in ‘Sunday The India’- The New Line Of Control; the write question the authenticity and the seriousness of continuous warning being issued for the attack (actionable intelligence?) • November 22, 2008: (two days before the attack): Shivraj Patil tells India’s police chiefs: "To control terrorism in the hinterland, we have to see that infiltration does not take place through the sea routes.’’ • November 13, 2008: (a fortnight before the assaults) PM tells BIMSTEC summit, "Terrorism and threats from the sea continue to challenge the authority of the state." • March 11, 2008: A.K. Antony warns International Maritime Search and Rescue Conference of the "dangers of terror attacks from the sea in the region", admitting that the Coast Guard faces shortage of manpower and hardware. • September 18, 2008: RAW intercepted a phone conversation in which a LeT source says there is a plan to target a hotel at the Gateway of India through the sea route.

16 • September 24, 2008: RAW identifies hotels which could be attacked: Taj, Marriott, the Land's End and Sea Rock. This indicates that the higher officials where aware of the threat that sea route were vulnerable and the security system weren’t strong enough to protect the coast. “If the ultimate aim of terrorists – apart from causing mayhem, murder and demoralisation– was to discredit the Indian security establishment, then it is a job well done. Waking up in the aftermath of an onslaught which has claimed over 200 lives (an understated figure?) and many hundreds maimed, the story of many gaps in the government action makes up for a picture which is not new .In line of fire is the Naval chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta. Defence Minister, A.K.Anthony, pulled up the Navy Chief asking him how they missed the intelligence warning?”- The Sunday India. The next question to be asked is whether the naval chief is answerable to the questioning. In an interview for Maritime Gateway by Sadhana, former director-general of Indian Coast Guard and the first recipient of President’s Tatrakshak Medal, Dr. Prabhakaran Paleri say, “Navy is a military service designed and created for heightened degree of conflict and fighting wars under the constitution of democratic India whereas the coast guard is meant to ‘enforce law’ and provide (humanitarian and other) ‘service’ at sea under the same of the Union List. They are different. The symmetry is about terrain specificity. If the roles are reversed it could be costly to the country as well as the forces. The government has to understand it and ensure the role specificity of the two forces. Both are equally important for maritime security. Navy can lose its efficiency if it insists on becoming a Coast Guard. The Coast Guard should understand its role and equip itself to perform them competently and seek the help of the navy during heightened situations if required. Both the forces are important to India and should complement each other in a matured manner. I find both the service quite competent and interactive in this competent and interactive in this connection. It is for the government to ensure their capacity requirement and projection profile without mix up.”

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In the article published by times of India; Raghu Dayal: Securing India's coastline read that, “the Coast Guard operates what constitutes the exclusive economic zone, between 12 and 200 nautical miles, whereas the marine police exercise surveillance inside the 12 nautical miles of territorial waters1, and the Navy beyond 200 nautical miles.” This is not today rule. These were the basic guideline on which Coast Guard was founded in 1977. Such division of work, specific responsibility; But still the 26/11, why?

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Inland and coastal waters under the jurisdiction of a nation or state, especially the ocean waters within 3 or 12 miles (4.8 or 19.3 kilometers) of the shoreline.

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Feature Article

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60 hours of endless drama, terror strike, death, confusion, mayhem and then 2 days of protest, demonstration, accusation and resignation…but no responsibility. Things are back to normal and life is moving on.
The night of 26 of November 2008 at 8:45 started the 60 hours of no break live coverage of four places of Mumbai – VT or Chatrapati Terminum, Hotel Taj, Hotel Trident Oberio and Nariman house. The whole of Mumbai was stuck to their television sets for 60 long hours. But going to more basic level how and why did it happen? Couldn’t it be prevented? Couldn’t precaution be taken? Yes the situation could have been avoided, precaution could have been taken. There has been proper division of work and responsibility in the government but it’s never properly followed. Even when it comes to security, it is a water-tight compartment. The land security is Army’s responsibility, air responsibilities lies with the Airforce and protecting waters/sea is the responsibility of the Navy. Even when it comes to protecting waters there is division. The marine police are to protect from the coast to 12 nautical and Coast Guard from 12 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles and then from 200 nautical it’s the Navy. In question to 26/11, it was the responsibility of the Coast Guard to secure the national water and not the Navy. One does not need to have visa to travel from Karachi to Gujarat. They need not cross the international water to reach India. Pakistan and India not only share the land border but also the water. The international water begins after the 200 nautical miles and for militants to come to India they do not need to cross the international water mark. They can come to India traveling within the 200 nautical mile mark.

Who is responsible?

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Brushing History
According to Khaireddin Barbarossa the advisor of Suleiman the Magnificent, the most glorious of the Ottoman sultans “He who rules on the sea will shortly rule on the land also”. The Chola dynasty was the first to realize and tap the sea power. They invested in constructing the first Indian Navy and spread their kingdom as far as Singapore. Then came Shivaji, who not only realized the power of Navy but also the importance of protecting the land from sea ward invasion. Shivaji started building number of coastal fortresses such as Padmadurg, Vijaydurg, Suvarnadurg, Sindhudurg & other small forts to protect to his coastal navy & to watch & to curb the activities of the Portuguese.

21 The Problem…
Emergence of Coast Guard in India was due to an awareness that a lot of responsibility was falling on the shoulders of the Indian navy. The Sea borne smuggling across the seas was rampant towards the end 1960’s threatening the economy of our country. The long coast line and limited manpower and resources made it extremely difficult for the Indian Navy to fulfill both the responsibility of protecting the country and policing the Indian waters. Therefore the Indian Coast Guard was born. Initially the naval officers were transferred to the Coast Guard unit and on tenure basic severed in Coast Guard. With further development in infrastructure a Coast Guard training cell was set up. Now the officers are first trained in this academy and then trained in Cochin along with naval officers.

The main duties of the Coast Guard are as follows: o Ensuring the safety and protection of artificial islands, offshore

terminals, installations and other structures and devices in any maritime zone o Providing protection to fishermen including assistance to them at sea

while in distress o Taking such measures as are necessary to preserve and protect the

maritime environment and to prevent and control marine pollution. o Assisting the customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling

operations o Enforcing the provisions of such enactment as are for the time being in

force in the maritime zones and o Such other matters, including measures for the safety of life and

property at sea and collection of scientific data as may be prescribed.

An interesting point to note here is that, in the Coast Guard motto reads, “To protect our ocean and offshore wealth including oil, fish and minerals: to assist mariners in distress and safeguard life and property at sea: to enforce maritime laws with respect to sea, shipping, poaching, smuggling and narcotics: to preserve marine

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environment and ecology and protect rare species: to collect scientific data and back-up the Navy during war”; no where fighting terrorism is mention. And hence one can infer that fighting terrorism is a recent addition to their duties and they were not equipped to fight modern day terrorism till 26/11. It is quite unfair, that for protecting the 7500 km of coastline the workforce employed is only 5440 uniformed personnel (633 officers, 4580 enrolled personnel including 82 officers and 145 personnel from the Navy and other Defence Services on deputation); where as to protect the land border of app. 15,106 km there are about 2,414,700 army forces. Yes the Coast guard is falling short of work force.

Facilities Coast guard stations 29 Airbases 5 Patrol and defence vessels 48 Interceptor vessels 22 Hovercrafts 6 Planes 24 Helicopters 21

While talking to an active coast guard officer, he said “the law of policing at sea is very different than that of at land. On land authorities can check people, good, vehicle but on sea the law are different. It is quite difficult to physically search a container due to limited staff and resources.”

Can we learn?
The paramilitary forces in India have been given there due place and respect. It’s high time we realize the importance of these special task forces and give them their rightful respect and promote them equally. It’s an interesting analysis that even on the official site of Ministry of Defence there is no heading for Coast Guard or other paramilitary forces in the budget. It has taken a 26/11, for the government to realize that even Coast Guard is a line of defence for the country and more so in the peace time when terrorism is engulfing the globe. The 26/11 attack has indeed shown us that we haven’t learnt from history. Even Shivaji had realized the importance of Coastal security but we failed to learn. Development is important but not at the cost of security. Demand drafts after demand draft have been lying in the office of defence but nothing has been able to materialize due to lack of funds allocation. Only after Mumbai terror attack, Coast

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Guard has been noticed. Weeks after the attack, to cool down public aggression five new boats AOPV were commissioned in the Coast Guard. And in the wake of the terror strike the media flashed the news on the front face or else it would have been a 100 word news story on the 5 or the 6 page.

What next?
The Indian Coast Guard is eyeing a major expansion with the acquisition of 15 ships and 23 aircraft to give it 'deep water' capability, even as it assists the country's coastal states in setting up marine police stations to guard against terrorists and smugglers. 'We have formulated a 15-year perspective plan (2007-22) that envisages the acquisition of 15 major new ships and 23 planes that include multi-mission maritime aircraft, twin engine helicopters and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles),' Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral Rusi Contractor told reporters Wednesday on the eve of its 30th anniversary. 'This will make us a true deep water force and enhance our surface and aerial surveillance capability to a great extent as India expands its exclusive economic zone (EEZ),' he added. The Coast Guard, which started with two frigates and five patrol boats leased from the Indian Navy, currently operates 76 ships and 45 aircraft. In addition, 24 ships, including five Fast Patrol Vessels, two Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels and 11 Interceptor Boats, are under construction in yards across the country. The assets envisaged in the perspective plan are over and above these. Such force levels are required as India's EEZ currently extends over 2.01 million sq km and subject to UN approval, could expand to three million sq km. This apart, 'there are the contemporary threats of maritime terrorism, gun running, drug trafficking, smuggling and piracy need to be countered by determined and coordinated maritime action', Contractor pointed out. 'The emerging security scenario in the backdrop of global terrorism calls for the Coast Guard to be at the highest state of vigil whilst on patrol at sea. To counter this

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new challenge, we have stepped up our aerial surveillance to safeguard our assets against subversive threats from the sea,' he added. It is in this context that the Coast Guard is assisting India's 10 coastal states in setting up marine police stations and training police personnel - 1,162 so far - under the government's Coastal Security Scheme. 'This would ensure that our vast coastline, which stretches over 7,000 km, becomes impregnable to small dinghies that are used to land contraband on our shores,' Contractor maintained. Since its inception, the Coast Guard has apprehended 8,974 foreign fishermen along with 904 vessels for violating the Maritime Zones of India Act. The value of fish catch impounded is estimated to be Rs.240 million and the value of the vessels at Rs.5.73 billion. The Coast Guard also provides sea cover and safety assistance to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships in performing scientific tasks at sea or at remote locations.

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