Coastal security India’s major focus: PM


New Delhi : A major thrust is being given to strengthen the country’s coastal security after the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes “made us painfully aware” of the need to do so, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Sunday.

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“The terrorist strikes in Mumbai in November 2008 had made us painfully aware of the need to strengthen our coastal security. The National Committee on Coastal Security under the chairmanship of the cabinet secretary has been constituted to adopt an integrated approach to this very vital issue,” Manmohan Singh said, inaugurating an internal security meeting with chief ministers here.

He said the committee on coastal security had taken action to increase the level of patrolling and surveillance along India’s 7,516-km long coastline to plug loopholes to prevent another 26/11-type terror attack.

The committee, the prime minister said, “will bring about greater coordination between the various agencies that can contribute to security along our coasts”.

“The issue of multi-purpose identity cards with biometric features to residents in coastal areas is expected to be completed by September 2010,” he said.

He stated that the process of registration of boats and vessels had gathered momentum.

“Standard operating procedures have been finalized and communicated to the state governments. These and other steps being taken should help substantially in making our coastline safer and secure,” he said.

Indian security agencies have focused their attention on coastal security after the 26/11 terror attack when 10 heavily armed and well trained Pakistani terrorists sailed into Mumbai and launched a three-day siege on the country’s commercial capital killing 166 people between Nov 26-29, 2008.