Coastal surveillance network at Tarapore: Antony

Announcing the decision to commission the CSN station, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Coast Guard Commanders Conference that once it was in place, the system boost real time maritime domain awareness.

"Once the station is put in place, the CSN system will provide a big boost to our real time maritime domain awareness," he said inaugurating the conference. Antony said ever increasing threat from the sea had necessitated strengthening of India's coastal security mechanism.

"There is an urgent need to keep our vast maritime zones under effective round-the-year surveillance by utilising all the assets at our disposal," he said.

He said India's security concerns, particularly along the sea lanes and long coastline, had widened the mandate and also increased the responsibility of the Coast Guard. "Coast Guard has emerged as a potent and dependable maritime force of our nation," Antony said, adding that the government was establishing a chain of 46 Static Sensors atop light houses all along the 7,500-km coastline, which needed to be speeded up.

"A lot more needs to be done compared to what has been achieved till now," the Minister said. Referring to the current force level of the Coast Guard, Antony said as of now it stood at 91 surface platforms and 45 aircraft.

He said the government was committed to enhancing the force levels in a phased manner in the near future. Giving an overview of the recent achievements of the Coast Guard, the Defence Minister informed that five stations were commissioned at Karwar, Gandhinagar, Veraval, Hutbay and Murud Janjira.

The 12th CG district headquarters at Kavaratti and regional headquarters of the North-East, along with a co-located station at Kolkata are likely to be established next year. In addition, five CG stations at Ratnagiri and Dahanu in Maharashtra, Minicoy in Lakshadweep, Mundra in Gujarat, and Kolkata in West Bengal will be in place next year.

The remaining nine stations at Pipavav, Androth, Karaikkal, Krishnapatnam, Nizampatnam, Gopalpur, Frazergunj, Kamorta and Mayabunder are slated for commissioning soon.

On the future plans of Coast Guard, Antony said 42 stations and 14 air stations would function all along the coast by the end of the 11th Plan (2012).

"The timely establishment of these coastal stations will allow greater synergy and cooperation among the Coast Guard, State government and other Central government organisations to prevent anti-national activities," he said.

With regard to the manpower, Antony said the government had sanctioned 4,026 personnel of whom 596 were officers, 2,941 enrolled personnel and 489 civilians.

Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral Anil Chopra highlighted the progress made by the Coast Guard in acquiring various ships and aircraft, development of infrastructure, induction of manpower and enhanced efforts for surveillance of the coast and the sea areas.

He said the coast guard force levels would almost double to 130 ships and 100 aircraft in the next couple of years. The three-day Coast Guard Commanders’ Conference will analyse operational capabilities, the deployment of forces and future challenges.

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