New Delhi: The Centre is considering to give the overall responsibility of coastal security to Indian Coast Guard (ICG). As per the proposed changes, the Centre may place the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

As of now, the ICG operates under the Ministry of Defence (MoD). As per Government sources, there is an operational disconnect between the Navy, the Coast Guard and the local population and there isn’t a single centralized force which operates in shallow waters which is a loophole in the coastal security.

”There is not a single force which has the capability to simultaneously patrol both land and sea adequately and none is equipped with trained manpower to
physically dominate the coastline for preventing intrusion. There is a lack of coordination and liaison between these agencies and the state police during a crisis situation,”said an officer who in the know.

Being a functional and well-established force operating in the coastal region, ICG is familiar with operational challenges and threats. Its personnel are well trained and bringing it under MHA would lead to better coordination between MoD and MHA in case of war.

At the time of its formation, the Coast Guard was proposed to be under the MHA but was later placed under the MoD. It is fully familiar with the terrain, threats and operational challenges of coastal areas. It will be an ideal force for handling overall responsibility of coastal security. It would also resolve issues of coordination with other Central agencies.

”It would lead to optimal allocation of available resources, expanding the mandate of the Coast Guard by giving its overall responsibility for prevention of intrusion via the sea route, enabling them to operate in shallow water and for collecting intelligence from the local coastal community,” said an officer in the establishment.

The Centre is also planning to create additional infrastructure to coastal police architecture across all states, provide additional training, manpower, equipment and infrastructure to the coastal police and data of all fishermen boat available with fisheries department would be made available to the Coast Guard and coastal police online through CCTNS.

The MoD had opposed the changes earlier but many states have come around to the idea of the Centre creating one force for all coastal areas. (Manish Shukla)