M A I N   N E W S

Govt ups maritime security
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
In an effort to check terrorism and to secure the country’s vast coastal belt the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today approved a Rs 742 crore scheme which was apparently part of the recommendations by the Group of Ministers (GoM).

The approved plan would strengthen maritime security by enhancing patrolling and surveillance in the coastal areas.

The CCS meeting, which lasted almost two-hours, was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It also reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the Naxalite-affected areas of the country.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil gave a brief on the prevailing situation in these areas and the steps that the security agencies were taking to tackle the problem, especially in the Naxalite-affected areas.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the scheme had been worked out by the Home Ministry costing Rs 400 crore over a five-year period and a recurring expenditure of Rs 111 crore.

Mr Mukherjee said that main thrust of the scheme would be to have specialised maritime police stations. These would deal specially with the maritime offences.

The recommendations of the GoM also included the strengthening of the Coast Guard which was also approved by the CCS. These would particularly include the strengthening of the force to protect the country’s national interests in the coastal areas.

It had also been decided to have additional coastal boards at a cost of Rs 342 crore with a recurring expenditure of Rs 26 crore to provide a three-layered protection of coastal areas, he said.

While protection in the high seas was vested with the Indian Navy, between 10 and 30 nautical miles was with the Coastal Guard and from the shores to 5 nautical miles with the coastal police as well as the Coastal Guard, he said.

The meeting also decided that a MoU would be signed between the Royal Navy of Thailand and the Indian Navy for joint patrolling, if needed, to protect the maritime areas in the two countries, he added.

Joint patrolling with the littorals would also provide the Indian Navy with greater operational experience in dealing with non-conventional threats that abound in India’s eastern seaboard.


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