Panel under Cabinet Secretary to review coastal security measures

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, June 18, 2009

The Union Government today decided to set up a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to review the measures taken for coastal security at regular intervals.
The other members of the committee will include the Chief of Naval Staff, the Secretaries of all concerned Ministries such as Defence, Home and Petroleum and the Chief Secretaries of the coastal states, an official statement said.
The decision to set up the committee was taken at a meeting chaired by Defence Minister A K Antony here today.
It was attended, among others by National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar, Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Vice-Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral R P Suthan, Director General Coast Guard Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Petroleum Secretary R S Pandey and senior officials from the departments of Fisheries, Ports and Border Management.
While expressing satisfaction at the measures taken so far to bolster coastal security, Mr Antony asked the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard to optimally use their assets and forces to enhance coastal surveillance.
The government has taken several measures to strengthen coastal security in the wake of November 26, 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, in which a group of ten armed terrorists sneaked into the metropolis using the sea route.
The measures have included setting up of a joint operation centre, allocation of additional manpower, exercises among Navy, Coast Guard and Coastal Police and improved network for sharing of information among various agencies.
The Defence Ministry has also approved dry leasing of twin-engine helicopters and aircraft for the Coast Guard to add teeth to their air surveillance operations. In addition, more than 80 fast interceptor craft are being procured by the Indian Navy to supplement the efforts of other agencies, including the Coast Guard.
The meeting reviewed the progress made in the acquisition of systems and platforms already approved by the Government in the aftermath of the Mumbai attack, the statement said.
Mr Antony emphasised the role of both Indian Navy and Coast Guard in providing security to vulnerable ports as the local CISF force may not have complete wherewithal for maritime security.
Vice Admiral Chopra gave a summary of measures taken so far by the Coast Guard, such as registration of fishing vessels, their notification and the format in which such registration has to be done by the coastal states.
Issues such as fixing transponders in certain categories of vessels, a network of radars and other sensors along the coast for a foolproof surveillance were discussed.
As many as 38 stations will get the cover of foolproof surveillance in the first phase of the project by the end of next year. The rest of the stations will be covered in the second phase.
The issue of safeguarding offshore installations was also discussed. The Ministry of Petroleum has been asked to procure the Intermediate Supply Vessels (ISVs), while the manpower will be provided by the Navy. The meeting also discussed issues relating to fixing transponders on certain categories of vessels.