Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday reviewed the coastal security apparatus at a high-level meeting here, and announced that Phase II of Coastal Security Initiatives would be launched soon, which would put in place a robust and gap-free Maritime Domain Awareness.
The meeting was attended by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Naval Chief Admiral, D. K. Joshi, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and representatives of State governments and fishery departments.
“There must be a time-bound action plan to complete all pending decisions at the earliest, and there has been coordination among the stakeholders towards coastal security,” Mr. Antony said, while promising that the Navy and the Coast Guard would complete their work on time. “Actions required from the rest of the departments and coastal states need to be monitored closely,” he said, and asked the Cabinet Secretary to fix timelines to monitor their performance.
The Minister said the Navy and the Coast Guard had been significantly strengthened, and there had been an unprecedented growth in their capabilities. “The assets, infrastructure, and manpower have grown, and the two services are likely to almost double their capabilities by the end of the 13th Plan ,” he said.
In the meeting, Mr. Antony said fishermen were the “eyes and ears” of coastal security, and hence, an integral part of planning. “A seamless and integrated approach is essential for foolproof coastal security,” he told top officials.
He appreciated the steps taken for installation of 46 coastal static radars, including 36 in the mainland and 10 in island territories, saying this would go a long way in identification and monitoring of maritime traffic. He directed that radar installation in the mainland should be completed by this November and in the island territories, by March next year.