The government has approved a whopping Rs.31,748 crore “definitive five-year action programme” for the Coast Guard giving the much needed bolster in improving its patrolling efficiency by deploying much advanced and lighter boats and other equipment to up the surveillance in the coastal area which would prevent the happening of something similar to the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai in 2008.
India has a 7,516-km coastline, with 1,382 islands and an Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) of 2.01 million sq.km. but only limited vessels and equipment to cover such a huge area which includes 130 “surface units” in the shape of 60 ships, 18 hovercrafts, and 52 smaller interceptor boats/crafts. With regards to air units, the Coast Guard has 39 Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft, 19 Chetak choppers and 4 Dhruv advanced light helicopters.
“The force already has 65 ships and interceptor crafts/boats under construction. Moreover, the acquisition of 30 helicopters for over 5,000 crore is also underway,” said a source. “Coast Guard has taken a conscious decision to stabilize its geographic spread in order to also focus on development of critical operational infrastructure like jetties for ships and hangers for aircraft,” he added.
Coast Guard performs the functions of non-military action but during the time of war, they join with Navy for national defence. Since the intrusion are imminent from Pakistan, Bangladesh and few other neighbouring nations, it is imperative for India to improve on its coast guard defence mechanism which would help them in an effective way to address the issue of infiltration of terrorists and militants from foreign lands.