New Delhi. Being none too happy over the handling of maritime security by coastal states where leadership appeared to lack enthusiasm and delay in utilising resources, Home Ministry is carrying out a comprehensive review of the scheme, media reports said quoting ministry officials.
At a meeting held by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, it was found that there was significant variation in the utilisation of resources allocated to different states and Union Territories, and subsequently, states did not provide enough finances for operations and maintenance of men and machines involved in safeguarding India’s territorial integrity.
This has led to cause of concern in the security circles as it was felt that due to adversarial neighbors, non-State actors and illegal migrants posed serious security challenges and so a structured and holistic approach was required — not only to modernise, upgrade and strengthen naval sinews, but also to plug loopholes in coastal security architecture.
” This will be a time-bound exercise with the states in which the issue of raising a Central marine force has been hanging fire for the last couple of years,” media reports said quoting sources.
India has a coastline that measures around 7,500 kilometres, including 5,400 kilometres of coastline on the mainland and 2,094 kilometres on the islands stretching across nine states and four Union Territories. Among these are 3,331 coastal villages and 1,382 islands where at least four to five lakh boats are involved in fishing activities. The existing security apparatus covers 12 major ports and 200 minor ones, five major harbours and 23 minor ones, 95 landing centres and 27 single-point moorings.
According to sources, the government has been able to operationalise 200 coastal police stations, which have been equipped with 204 boats and also 30 jetties, communication equipment and over 800 vehicles with night operation capabilities for coastal states and Union Territories.
“The finances have been provided to the states to build required infrastructures. The work should be finished by 2020. The Indian Navy that is responsible for overall maritime security is operating from four main joint operation centres at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair. By now, more than Rs 2,200 crore has been allocated to strengthen surveillance and security capabilities in territorial waters close to the coast,” sources said.