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D. Aravind asked: How safe is the Indian coastline? What steps has the Government taken recently to improve the security of our coastlines?

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  • Pushpita Das replies: India’s coastline continues to remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks as well as to smuggling of drugs, arms and explosives. However, the situation is not so bleak. Thanks to the various measures undertaken by the government, the country’s coastal security situation is fast improving. Some of the measures initiated by the central government are:

    • The Indian Navy has been entrusted with the overall responsibility of coastal and maritime security; the Coast Guard given the additional responsibility of patrolling the territorial waters
    • The Navy and Coast Guard are being provided with additional manpower as well as suitable assets for coastal security
    • 73 Coastal Police Stations have been established under Coastal Security Scheme Phase I; additional 131 Coastal Police Stations will be set up under Phase II
    • Coastal Police Stations have being provided with trained manpower and interceptor boats to patrol the coastal waters
    • Four Joint Operation Centers (JOCs) have been set up for coordination and intelligence sharing among various agencies involved in coastal security
    • 46 static radars are in the process of being installed to provide complete coverage of the entire coast off the mainland and island territories,
    • All vessels (merchant ships and fishing boats) above 20 meters are required to install Automatic Identification System (AIS) devices, and to track and monitor these vessels 84 AIS Stations are being set up along the coastline.
    • All fishing boats are being registered under a uniform registration system
    • All the coastal villagers are being provided with identity cards.

    It is important to emphasise that given the nature of the problem, India’s coastline cannot be made foolproof; it can at best be managed efficiently so that the consequences of any untoward incident are minimised to the extent possible.