The 26/11 terror attack at Mumbai in 2008, had exposed our vulnerability along the coast and our inadequacies when it comes to coastal security. And the recent blowing up of a suspected boat from Pakistan, when challenged by our Coast Guard, off the coast of Porbandar, Gujarat, was again a grim reminder. But nothing substantial has taken place since 2008, when it comes to coastal security, says Director of Delhi-based Society for Policy Studies and Defence Analyst Comde (retd) C. Uday Bhaskar.
In an interaction with The Hindu , he pointed out that the ability of the perpetrators have increased many times, when it comes to challenging the sovereignty of India from the sea, but at the same time the capacity building of the security forces along the coast has not taken place as desired.
According to Cmde. Uday Bhaskar, the authorities concerned have not looked into the capacity building of the forces manning the coast, despite suffering a major attack. “There is some thing to learn from the US initiatives, post 9/11 terror attack. Today, they have something called the Homeland Security, developed to take care of internal security. We must have something like that,” he pointed out.
Cmde. Uday Bhaskar feels that the basic challenge is intelligence gathering. “We still rely on the age old system of gathering intelligence inputs from the fishermen. It is necessary, but there should be a machinery working 24/7 and at times the integrity of the old system may come under question. Most importantly, there is no coordination between the various forces and the intelligence agencies,” he said.
The defence analyst feels that the government should immediately think of constituting a maritime board and build a well-oiled and well-coordinated security network. “The building up of a databank is very important of coastal security. The intelligence agencies should have knowledge of every boat sailing in and out,” he said.
Today, the coastal security is under a three-tier setup - the Navy, Coast Guard and the Coastal Security Police. Cmde. Uday Bhaskar feels that there should be central policy to monitor the coastal police and the force should be well equipped, which is grossly lacking.