New Delhi, Oct. 25 (ANI): Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday said that a Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) station at Tarapore in Maharashtra would be commissioned very soon while inaugurating the 29th Annual Coast Guard Commanders' Conference in New Delhi. He said once it is put in place, the CSN system will provide a big boost to India's real time maritime domain awareness.
"The ever increasing threat from the sea has necessitated strengthening of our coastal security mechanism. There is an urgent need to keep our vast Maritime Zones under effective round-the-year surveillance by utilising all the assets at our disposal," he said.
"Our security concerns, particularly along the sea lanes and our long coastline have widened the mandate and also increased the responsibility of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has emerged as a potent and dependable maritime force of our nation," he added.
The Defence Minister said the plan to establish a 46 Chain of Static Sensors atop the light houses along India's coast line needed to be speeded up.
"A lot more needs to be done compared to what has been achieved till now," he added.
Referring to the current force level of the Coast Guard, Antony said that as of now it stands at 91 surface platforms and 45 aircraft, and added that the government is committed to enhancing force levels in a phased manner in the near future.
Giving an overview of the recent achievements of the Coast Guard, Antony informed that five stations have been commissioned at Karwar, Gandhinagar, Veraval, Hutbay and MurudJanjira to augment the presence of Coast Guard.
He said District Headquarters No 12 at Kavaratti and Regional Headquarters of the North-East, along with a co-located station at Kolkata are likely to be established next year.
In addition, he said five stations at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Minicoy in Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, Mundra in Gujarat, Kolkata in West Bengal and Dahanu in Maharashtra are also likely to come up next year.
The remaining nine sStations at Pipavav, Androth, Karaikkal, Krishnapatnam, Nizampatnam, Gopalpur, Frazergunj, Kamorta and Mayabunder are also slated for commissioning soon, he added.
Dwelling on the future plans of the Coast Guard, Antony informed that as many as 42 Coast Guard Stations will be functioning all along the Coast by the end of the current Eleventh Plan.
He said the timely establishment of these coastal stations will allow greater synergy and cooperation among the Coast Guard, State Government and other Central Government organizations to prevent anti-national activities.
With regard to manpower, Antony said the Government has sanctioned a total strength of 4026 personnel (596 officers, 2941 enrolled personnel and 489 civilian personnel).
Director General, Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, highlighted the progress made by the Coast Guard in the acquisition of various ships and aircraft, development of infrastructure, induction of manpower and enhanced efforts for surveillance of the coast and the sea areas.
The three-day Coast Guard Commanders' Conference will analyse operational capabilities, the deployment of forces and future challenges. (ANI)