Maritime security snippets
The navy will be the “designated authority’’ responsible for overall maritime security, with both coastal and offshore security under its control. It will be assisted by the coast guard, and other state and central marine forces. The naval chiefs of the western, eastern and southern commands will also be the “commanders-in-chief of coastal defence’’. With the navy being in charge of all operations, the buck will stop with it. A national command, control, communication and intelligence network, linking the operations rooms of the navy and the coast guard at the field and apex levels, will be established. Joint operation centres will be set up at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair, which will get inputs from diverse bodies, including intelligence agencies. This will ensure critical connectivity between intelligence and security agencies, the lack of which came to the fore during 26/11. Manpower, equipment and intelligence apparatus of both the navy and coast guard will be augmented. The navy, for instance, will get a new specialised force, the Sagar Prahari Bal, which will have 1,000 personnel and 80 fast interception craft. The coast guard, desperately short of ships and aircraft, will get five more offshore patrol vessels, 10 fastattack craft, 20 interceptor boats, 12 Dornier aircraft and 30 helicopters, among other things. Coast guard director-general will be commander of the new Coastal Command, which will ensure effective functional linkages across the entire maritime domain. He will be responsible for overall coordination between central and state agencies on coastal security. Nine new coast guard stations, which will integrate with coastal police stations, will come up at Karwar, Ratnagiri, Vadinar, Gopalpur, Minicoy, Androth, Karaikal, Hutbay and Nizampatnam. A new regional HQ will be established in Gujarat under the newlycreated post of commandant North-West to look after the surveillance of the coastline near Pakistan. The government has approved a static coastal radar chain network and a comprehensive chain of AIS (automatic identification system) stations. With transponders to be installed in vessels with less than 300-tonne capacity, the security agencies will be able to dynamically locate and track all such ships and trawlers in and around Indian waters. A vessel and air traffic management system for all offshore development areas suggested.