The first phase of the coastal surveillance network that will facilitate remote location monitoring of the eastern seaboard through radars and other sophisticated gadgets will be operationalised in southern India soon, Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh has said.

Commissioning ICGS Rajkamal, an Inshore Patrol Vessel of the Indian Coast Guard, here on Tuesday, Mr. Singh said the surveillance system would be a giant leap in coastal security. Stating that more ships were under construction at the Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers, Kolkata, he said the country had achieved the expertise to build advanced warships indigenously. The Union government was working towards creating sophisticated defence capabilities by laying more emphasis on the Research and Development front.

Later talking to reporters, Mr. Singh said efforts were on to install Global Positioning System (GPS) facility on fishing boats. Responding to a question on the attack on fishermen of Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy, he said the fishermen sometimes crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line. “We are educating them on the geographical boundaries. A high-level committee comprising top officials was formed to periodically interact with the Sri Lankan authorities on the issue. There is also a United Nations initiative in this regard.”

Mr. Singh, who is also the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, said a 10-year plan was drawn for identifying young talents and sports and promoting them. Twenty-eight centres of excellence would be established where youth talented in sports would be trained. “Sports should be seen as a career progression. We want to provide good jobs for sportspersons. Since there is a shortage in trainers, it has been planned to bring good trainers from foreign countries.”

Commandant Ravindra Kumar took Mr. Singh and others around ICGS Rajkamal. The 50-metre vessel has a maximum speed of 34 knots and an endurance of 1,500 nautical miles. It is equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry.

Director-General of Coast Guard M.P. Muralidharan, Inspector-General and Commander Coast Guard (Region East) S.P. Sharma spoke.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National