Coast Guard to get nine more bases to augment maritime security

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) The Coast Guard is to get nine more bases to increase the number to 38 and enable it to augment maritime security in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, it was announced here Saturday.

The Coast Guard has also been asked to lease or hire ships from the global market “in the quickest possible time to meet shortages”, said a statement issued after a high-level meeting chaired by Defence Minister A.K. Antony to review in detail all aspects relating to coastal security.

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“Approval was accorded for global acquisition of cutting-edge equipment and interceptor boats on a fast-track basis. The meeting also decided to set up nine additional Coast Guard Stations and a proposal for the same will be sent for cabinet approval at the earliest,” the statement added.

“The deployment of Coast Guard assets to protect vulnerable areas in the context of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai was discussed. It was decided to deploy additional ships and aircraft in these areas,” the statement said, without elaborating.

In another major decision, Antony “asked the Coast Guard to coordinate with state governments for electronic identification of all vessels entering Indian waters”.

“The meeting also gave clearance for radar coverage of the entire coastline and a scheme for the same will soon be worked out in consultation with the ministry of shipping,” the statement said.

Antony asked the Coast Guard to “coordinate with the Indian Navy and intelligence agencies for sharing of information”, the statement added.

Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral Anil Chopra and Director General (Acquisition) S.K. Sharma were among those who attended the meeting.