So far Five stations at Vadinar, Ratnagiri, Karwar, Hutbay and Minicoy have been commissioned and remaining four are expected to be commissioned by early next year.
The Defence Minister AK Antony asked the Navy chief and the DG Coast Guard to take all steps required to ensure that incidents like MT Pavit drifting into Indian Territorial waters do not recur. Chairing a high-level meeting of the top officials of Navy, Coast Guard and MoD on Wednesday, to review coastal security measures, he directed them to “ensure with all available resources at their command to secure our coasts and keep the faith of the nation intact”.
The meeting was attended among others by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, the Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Secretary, Defence Production Shekhar Aggarwal, Secretary, Defence Finance Vijayalakshmy K Gupta, Special Secretary RK Mathur, DG Coast Guard Vice Admiral Anil Chopra and DG Acquisition Shri Vivek Rae.
The meeting also reviewed the progress made in beefing up coastal security measures following the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai. A large number of measures were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in February 2009 to improve coastal security. The meeting was held to take stock of implementation of the approvals which have a far reaching implications on coastal security. It was informed that there has been an increase of 60-80% naval ship deployment and 100% increase in aircraft deployment for coastal security tasking. A total of 165 coastal security operations, 54 exercises and 259 awareness campaigns for the fishermen community along the coast have so far been conducted from January 2009 till June this year.
A special force, Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) comprising 1000 personnel (98 Officers and 902 Sailors) and 80 Fast Interceptor Craft (FIC) are being raised by the Navy for force protection, security of naval bases and co-located Vital Areas and Vital Positions. SPBs have been set up in all commands. 11 Officers and 257 Sailors have been positioned and patrolling has commenced using hired boats. A Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) report for procurement of 80 FICs has been finalized. The first four boats are likely to be delivered within the next six months. Thereafter, four boats would be delivered every three months. In addition, a contract of 15 FICs (not as part of SPB case) has been concluded. First three craft have already been delivered. Three crafts will be delivered next month. Thereafter, three FICs will be delivered every four months.
The most critical surveillance measures approved was establishment of 46 Radar Stations along the country’s coast. The plan included the installation of 36 Radars in mainland, 6 Radars in Lakshadweep and Minicoy and 4 Radars in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Necessary negotiations have been concluded and the project is likely to start in a month’s time and completed in one year.
The National Command Control Communication and intelligence network is conceived as a part of the overall National Maritime Domain Awareness Project. The network is designed to link 51 nodes in the Navy and the Coast Guard. The project is likely to be completed by 2012. Measures to be taken by the other Ministries, Departments and States, which have implications for coastal security, were discussed.
The Defence Minister asked the officials to speed up all pending acquisitions of platforms, upscaling of manpower, setting up of mechanism for close-knit coordination and operating procedures to provide foolproof security in our coastal regions. He asked DG Acquisition and Secretary Defence Production to monitor about the procurement process.
He also directed Navy and Coast Guard to prepare a blueprint for further strengthening the coastal security by identifying the gaps and taking measures to address them. A phase-II of coastal security plan is likely to be taken up shortly for approval of government. It was decided that the next meeting on the coastal security will be held early next month with all stakeholders.