Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Thursday said the Navy, tasked with the overall responsibility of coastal security, is preparing Standard Operating Procedures with other stakeholders to face threats such as the Mumbai terror attacks. And the Navy would get a dedicated communication satellite next year.

“Numerous measures have been initiated after 26/11 to enhance coastal security. The Navy, assisted by the Coast Guard and other stakeholders in the maritime domain, is playing a proactive role to bring about synergy and establish the Standard Operating Procedures in coordination with the States,” Mr. Antony said at a conference of Navy commanders here.

Later speaking to journalists, Mr. Antony said he was personally monitoring the coordination aspect as were the Cabinet Secretary and the Home Ministry. He was responding to a question on the creation of the post of Maritime Security Adviser.

The Minister said all coastal States should have a separate marine police wing. “They should strengthen the marine police. The Navy and the Coast Guard will provide them training. It is a new force and they need all support.”

Addressing the naval commanders, Mr. Antony said that with India’s growing stature, there were expectations from it in maintaining balance and security in the Indian Ocean Region. This necessitated putting maritime domain awareness on a fast track.

Praising the Navy for its effort towards network-centric operations and leveraging Information Technology, he said the launch of the naval communication satellite next year would improve connectivity at sea. The Navy would take the lead among the three Services in having its own dedicated satellite.

Optimal integration

Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma reasserted the need for all Commanders to pursue optimal integration of the multiple agencies involved in ensuring coastal security in the wake of increase threat of maritime infiltration.

While highlighting the need for coordinative action, he acknowledged that the Navy would have to provide training assistance to the Central Industrial Security Force, the marine wing of the police and other agencies to enable them to graduate from basic water skills to specialist skills needed for maritime patrol and interdiction.

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