India's coastal security still in doldrums

Marine Police Training Institutes, mooted in 2012, yet to take off

India's coastal security still in doldrums

Indian agencies may have succeeded in thwarting a 26/11-type terror attack, with an explosive-laden boat blowing up near the Gujarat coast, but the country still does not have adequate training facilities for marine policing.

Two Marine Police Training Institutes were proposed on the eastern and western coasts, but the proposal, mooted in 2012, has not moved forward.

Sources said senior officials had earlier visited Maharashtra and Gujarat to check the sites the states had offered for the institute on the western coast. Later, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had even announced that the institute would be set up in Gujarat.

Andhra Pradesh had found land in Krishna district's Machallipatnam for the institute on the eastern coast. The Union Home Ministry is yet to clear the site. A senior Home Ministry official said policing the coastlines require specialised skills and monitoring framework.

Emphasising the need for such institutes, the official said states also face difficulties in finding well-trained personnel to man coastal police stations and boats, and perform marine coastal security operations. 

At present, the Coast Guard is providing training to the personnel from states.In Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's maiden budget in July last year, Rs 150 crore was earmarked for the construction of marine police stations and jetties, and purchase of boats to strengthen the coastal security apparatus.

A Parliamentary panel report last year had also recorded some state government’s criticism that the Centre's Coastal Security Scheme had an “excessive top-down” approach.

India has a coastline of 7,516.6 km, running through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, and Union Territories Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In a bid to strengthen surveillance along the coastline to thwart 26/11-type attacks, the Union Cabinet had on December 29 leased land owned by the Airports Authority of India at four airports to Indian Coast Guard for setting up various facilities along the coast. 

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