Joint efforts needed to curb maritime crimes: Pranab
New Delhi, Oct 23 (UNI) Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today called for coordinated efforts by the Indian Coast Guard and the State Marine police to curb maritime crimes and advocated the use of satellite technology and advanced sensors and communication techniques for the purpose.
Addressing the Coast Guard Commanders Conference, Mr Mukherjee pointed out that crimes at sea, maritime frauds, piracy, armed robbery, human trafficking and other trans-national crimes were on the rise the world over.
He said greater maritime domain awareness, therefore, was required, for which closer cooperation with other related organisations and Ministries was essential.
''For the protection of our vital assets onshore, coordinated efforts by the Indian Coast Guard and the State Marine Police Wing would go a long way in curbing smuggling and armed robberies,'' he said.
Mr Mukhrejee said advanced technology for maritime surveillance was also required for which he suggested the use of satellite technology and advanced sensors and communication techniques.
The Defence Minister told the Coast Guard Commanders that their responsibilities were only going to increase with the emerging security threats from the sea.
''You will have to find ways and means to make the best use of the resources at your disposal, exercising utmost economy at all levels,'' he said and urged them to be vigilant and continuously patrol the sea.
On the expansion plans, he said Coast Guard Stations at Jakhau, Beypore and Pondicherry had already been commissioned. A new Coast Guard Station on the East Coast at Kakinada was likely to be commissioned next month.
On the shortage of manpower and force levels, he said concerted efforts would be required to expedite acquisitions of new ships and aircraft and provide necessary budgetary support for such ventures.
He said the 11th Plan projections for the Coast Guard had to be finalised at the earliest so that the service was provided with long-term funding support to ensure a sustained growth over the plan period.
''The growth of manpower needs to be planned in consonance with the growth of the force levels,'' he stated.
Referring to the recently-concluded 'Operation Pradushan', towards Pollution Control off Galle at the behest of the Sri Lankan Government, he said, ''This episode symbolises the growing recognition of the Indian Coast Guard as an emerging regional force influencing issues pertaining to marine pollution.'' He complimented the men and officers of the Coast Guard for the professionalism they displayed by saving 78 innocent lives off Haldia during the incident leading to capsizing of a passenger ferry on September 22 this year.
UNI YJ PB BD1736