Coast Guard to triple force levels to check 26/11-type attacks

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New Delhi, Jan 28 (ANI): The Indian Coast Guard is all set to double its force levels and manpower in the next few years and triple it in the next decade in order to protect the country's maritime zones and assets so that another 26/11-type attack does not happen in the future.

To augment the force level, the government has sanctioned 40, ships, 20 boats and 42 aircrafts. Seven offshore patrol; vessels, 20 fast patrol vessels and 12 Dornier aircrafts have also been sanctioned.

"The Coast Guard is well on its way to becoming the strongest and most potent non-military maritime force in the Indian Ocean Region, as well as fourth largest Coast Guard in the world," said Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Director General of the ICG.

Vice Admiral Chopra said in order to augment the manpower a total of 3299 personnel will be inducted this year.

Post-26/11 five ships, including one advanced offshore vehicle, were commissioned last year, enhancing the Coast Guards operational capability.

In 2009, the Coast Guard conducted 14 coastal security exercises and 18 operations (based on intelligence inputs).

Vice Admiral Chopra said patrolling and surveillance by the Coast Guard has been enhanced exponentially and the ICG is conducting regular exercises with all maritime agencies involved in maritime security to the be prepared all the time.

To fill in the gaps in the coastal security, assistance is being provided to the coastal states by the ICG, based on which 131 additional coastal police stations have been proposed under the Coastal Security Scheme.

For enhancing the surveillance capabilities, Vice Admiral Anil Chopra said that a coastal surveillance network along the coastline is being established.

"The aim of this network is to create fully integrated infrastructure to achieve real time coastal surveillance from remote locations," said the Director General of the Indian Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard also plans to have a total of 40 stations by 2012. It has commissioned a Coast Guard station at Hutbay in 2009 and a ship E146 at Porbandar to facilitate effective sea control.

The Coast Guard fleet at present comprises of 43 ships, 23 boats and 45 aircrafts. The ICG has 27 coast guard stations and eight air stations located in nine coastal states. It has an approximate strength of 7500 personnel.By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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