Antony inaugurates 31st Coast Guard Commanders’ Conference
Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said that the role of fishing community is vital in strengthening of coastal security mechanism. Inaugurating the three-day 31st Annual Coast Guard Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi, he said that community interaction programme is to be given impetus in order to sensitise the fishing community on the prevailing security situation and to develop them to be the “eyes and ears” for intelligence gathering.
Highlighting the expansion and strengthening of the Coast Guard, he said, the Coast Guard Development Plan has been approved and adequate funds have been provided. “The service is on course to double its assets and capacity building in the next four-five years. A Coast Guard Regional Headquarters (North East) and five Coast Guard Stations have been established. By the end of the current financial year, another six sanctioned stations are also likely to be established”. The Phase-I of the Coastal Surveillance Network project is nearing completion and the system will indeed provide additional measures towards electronic surveillance.
“We aim to achieve near-gap-free electronic surveillance along our coasts and towards this end, Phase-II of the project will be started soon after the completion of the first phase.” He commended all the Coast Guard personnel for their commitment, courage and involvement while discharging their duties and said “maritime security infrastructure, as it stands today, is quite robust and capable of handling various security challenges at sea”.
The Director General, Indian Coast Guard, Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, highlighted the progress made by the Coast Guard in acquisition cases of various types of ships and aircrafts, development of infrastructure, induction of manpower in the service and enhanced efforts for surveillance of the coast and the sea areas. One pollution control vessel, four inshore patrol vessels, two air cushion vessels, one interceptor boat and four interceptor crafts have been inducted into the service. He said that the Coast Guard aims to achieve a force level of 150 surface platforms by the year 2018.
One Dornier Squadron has been established at Porbandar since the last Commanders` Conference. Establishing of two Air Stations, five Air Enclaves and four Dornier Squadrons has also been prioritised.
The conference will help the Coast Guard Commanders in analysis of the operational capabilities, deployment of forces and preparations for the future challenges. It will also provide an opportunity to the Commanders to introspect the standards achieved in the wide spectrum of Coast Guard responsibilities.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony addressing the 31st Annual Coast Guard Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi on September 20, 2012. Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and Director General Coast Guard,
Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan are also seen.