Chaliyam, Jan 4 (ANI): Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday said coastal security has become the 'immediate agenda' of the government in the light of the pirate attacks on ships following which patrolling has been intensified along vulnerable areas by the Navy and Coast Guard.
"In earlier days, we considered our coastal region more secure. But that is history. Fourteen ships have been attacked by pirates off Lakshadweep. Such attacks will affect the peace and security of the nation. Coastal security has now become the immediate agenda of the government," said Antony after laying the foundation stone of the National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH) here.
Antony said NIRDESH will be the fifth defence project in Kerala.
"Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has already started a unit in Kasargod, Bharath Earth Movers Limited has one in Palakkad. Bharat Electronics Limited has a factory at Kochi and there is a Brahmos unit at Thiruvananthapuram," he said.
Further asking the political leaders to overlook party affiliations on the question of Kerala's development, Antony said: "There should be total unity between the ruling and opposition parties in the matter of development of the state."
A part of the Department of Defence Production, NIRDESH, will be funded by the Ministry of Defence and all the Defence Shipyards in the country.
The Defence Minister will head the Board of Governors as the President, with representations from the Ministry of Defence, Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Chairmen of Defence Shipyards.
Gyanesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (Naval Systems) in the Ministry of Defence has been concurrently appointed as the Director General of NIRDESH. (ANI)