Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: In a span of two years, the Indian Coast Guard would be the among best in the world as there was a plan to induct more men, machine and material to patrol the 7,500-km shoreline, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said here on Wednesday.

Underlining that the concept of security underwent a change after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to include threats from the sea, Mr. Antony said that in order to meet the additional responsibility of coastal surveillance given to the Coast Guard, the government had sanctioned 3,000 additional personnel to make it a potent force to counter terrorism from sea.

The Coast Guard was in the process of acquiring 20 fast patrol vehicles, 41 interceptor boats, 12 coastal surveillance Dornier aircraft and seven off-shore patrol vehicles in addition to 46 coastal radars spanning nine coastal stations across the country.

Recently, a Coast Guard Regional Headquarters was operationalised in Ahemdabad, while nine new Coast Guard stations would be established.

The Minister, who released funds to the Coast Guard both for the platforms and radars on a fast track, said he would hold a review meeting soon to take stock of the progress made. “These projects must be monitored carefully to ensure that these platforms are delivered on time, with requisite quality,” he said.

He said that since its inception, the Coast Guard had maintained its fleet with minimum shore infrastructure and managing the fleet through outsourcing repairs and refit. With the massive expansion through ships acquisition, the force would develop the infrastructure.

Top officials said the Coast Guard faced a problem of shortage of trained officers. It was planning to open its own academy.

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