Antony re­views Coastal Se­cu­rity


The De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony re­cently asked gov­ern­ment agen­cies to take up the is­sue of pri­vate armed se­cu­rity guards on-board com­mer­cial ships, in In­ter­na­tional fora such as In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion. Chair­ing a meet­ing on Coastal Se­cu­rity here, Antony said the is­sue has as­sumed sig­nif­i­cance in the back­drop of two re­cent in­ci­dents close to In­dian Coast. He di­rected that the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs and the Min­istry of Ship­ping to come out with a plan of ac­tion and reg­u­la­tions on the is­sue at the ear­li­est. The ef­fort would lead to bet­ter reg­u­la­tion on the is­sue of float­ing ar­mouries car­ry­ing pri­vate armed guards and weapons in our mar­itime zones.

The meet­ing was at­tended among oth­ers by the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Shivshankar Menon, the Chief of Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral D.K. Joshi, De­fence Sec­re­tary R.K. Mathur, se­nior of­fi­cers from min­istries of De­fence, Home, Petroleum, Ship­ping and Agri­cul­ture, In­dian Cus­toms, In­dian Navy and In­dian Coast Guard.

Antony noted that dur­ing the last few years, the gov­ern­ment had taken sev­eral steps to­wards en­hanc­ing In­dia’s Coastal Se­cu­rity. Both In­dian Navy and In­dian Coast Guard have been strength­ened in terms of as­sets and man­power.

He re­viewed the progress of sev­eral schemes ini­ti­ated for en­hanc­ing coastal se­cu­rity like manda­tory reg­is­tra­tion of fish­ing boats, is­sue of bio­met­ric ID cards to fish­er­men, for­ma­tion of State Mar­itime Boards, des­ig­na­tion of ship­ping lanes in ports, sur­vey and mon­i­tor­ing of land­ing points along the coast. He was ap­prised of the work car­ried out in set­ting up 46 coastal radar sta­tions. In ad­di­tion, another 38 radar sta­tions are be­ing en­vis­aged as part of phase II of the coastal sur­veil­lance net­work.

While ap­pre­ci­at­ing the ef­forts of the var­i­ous cen­tral agen­cies and min­istries, Antony urged them to also be in reg­u­lar touch with their coun­ter­parts in state gov­ern­ments to en­sure that there is no room for any de­lay or slack­ness on mat­ters of coastal se­cu­rity. A 24x7 alert on coastal se­cu­rity is­sues was stressed as vi­tal. He em­pha­sised that var­i­ous min­istries in Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, coastal state gov­ern­ments and coastal com­mu­ni­ties are key stake­hold­ers in coastal se­cu­rity. A fully seam­less and in­te­grated ap­proach by all the stake­hold­ers, he re­minded, is im­per­a­tive for achiev­ing a gap-free coastal se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment in the coun­try.

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