The Coastal Security Police (CSP) in Andhra Pradesh, the State with the second longest coastline in the country with about 350 landing points and 14 ports, seem to be groping in the dark when it comes to security readiness as not one of its 18 boats is functional.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh recently cautioned that an ‘underwater wing’ of the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was reportedly training terrorists to infiltrate India through its long coastline, and called for the Indian Navy and all stakeholders in coastal security to be fully prepared to handle such intrusions.
Though the caution was sounded primarily for the western coast, an alert was sounded across the entire coastline, including the eastern coast.
A.P. is also home to many vital installations in Visakhapatnam, Kakinada and Sriharikota. This makes the State vulnerable to infiltrations from sea. Coastal security is primarily vested in three agencies — the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, and the Coastal Security Police (CSP). The CSP was set up by the Government of India after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.While the Navy and Coast Guard are always on alert and have their task cut out, the CSP in Andhra Pradesh, however, has a long way to go in order to be fully equipped to deal with any emergency.
All along the State’s coast, the CSP has established 21 police stations starting from Bhavanapadu in Srikakulam to Sriharikota in Nellore. The Government of India had allotted 18 fast interceptor boats to these police stations. Till about six months ago, a few of them were operational, but now all of the boats are under repair and are no longer seaworthy.
CSP officials said they do not have enough funds to make the boats operational, which limits their role to land security.
The sanctioned strength of 1,872 staff is limited to 890, and 30 boats, which were promised, are yet to arrive.
Satellite phones sought by the CSP are yet to be delivered as the request is learnt to be still under consideration. Weapons and equipment have been sanctioned but have not been allotted yet, a senior officer of the CSP said.
The four jetties proposed by the CSP are yet to get off the drawing board.
A former IG-rank officer who served in CSP said while the staff are raring to give their best, the department has been rendered toothless due to lack of government support.