1 Feb 2014

Indian Coast Guard Will Focus on ‘Safer Lives, Safer Coast And Safer Seas’ in 2014

DG Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral AG Thapliyal
Following is the text of the opening remarks of DG Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral AG Thapliyal at the press conference here today.
“On behalf of the Indian Coast Guard, I extend a very warm welcome to you all. As you are aware, the Indian Coast Guard is celebrating its 37th Anniversary on 01 Feb 2014. Since its inception, the service has grown into a multi-faceted, vibrant and credible force, maintaining round the clock vigil in the vast Maritime Zones of India. 

The addition of 29 surface platforms (one each Pollution Control Vessel and Offshore patrol Vessel, 12 Fast Patrol Vessels, eight Air Cushion Vessels and seven Interceptor Boats) and supporting shore infrastructure which includes a Regional Headquarter (North-East) at Kolkata and District Headquarters-14 at Port Blair in the recent past is an earnest effort by this growing service to ensure presence all along the 7500 Km long Indian coastline and render swift response to emergency contingencies at sea. We expect to add another 15-20 vessels this year. 

Today, the Indian Coast Guard has an organizational structure comprising five Regional Headquarters, 14 District Headquarters, 41 Stations and 9 Air Stations/ Enclaves with suitably equipped surface and air units dispersed along these stations on 24x7 days task of surveillance round the year. 

In the last few years, the Coastal Security Infrastructure has been made robust and strengthened. The Standard Operating Procedures on Coastal Security have immensely contributed towards synergizing the efforts of the stakeholders. 

The ICG has been complementing the Indian Navy’s lead in strengthening the overall Maritime Security. About 15 Coastal Security Exercises and 27 Coastal Security Operations have been conducted in the preceding year alone. Insofar as Piracy is concerned the areas off the coast of Somalia and Gulf of Aden have witnessed a downward trend in attacks by Somali Pirates since 2010. 

Due to some stray incidents wherein the pirates shifted their hunting grounds West of Lakshadweep in 2010, the IN and ICG jointly mounted operation ‘Island Watch’ in Dec 2010. Efforts by such pirate groups were thwarted and the pirates captured. 

There have been no incidents in the area since 2010. Coastal Security Scheme Phase I has been operationalised and is in the final phase of stabilization. CCS has accorded approval for the establishment of Coastal Security Network Phase II to provide gap free Surveillance along the vast coastline. 

The contours of which have been finalized in consultation with BEL and DGLL and the project should be soon underway. The Pilot project for tracking of vessels less than 20 m in length is also under progress. 

The Indian Coast Guard has carved a niche for itself at the International level and is today recognized as one of the leading Coast Guards in the IOR region. A few of the ICG endeavors emphasizing international outreach include conduct of 8th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Meeting in Oct 2012 and holding the 13th Indo-Japan Coast Guard High Level Meeting on 13 Jan 14 at New Delhi, which was followed by a joint exercise at sea off Kochi. 

In order to instill awareness among the large fleet of fishing boats operating in Indian EEZ and achieve a participatory approach to thwart possible threats at sea, Indian Coast Guard regularly conducts Community Interaction Programmes with the fishing community. Untiring efforts of the organisation have resulted in timely assistance to merchant mariners and fishermen in distress at sea. ICG undertook 10 medical evacuations and saved 583 precious lives in the preceding year. 

The motivated, trained and fearless Officers and men continue to be the force behind the state-of-the-art ships and aircraft in serving the nation and protecting our maritime domain. The theme of the Indian Coast Guard for the year 2014 is ‘Safer Lives.. Safer Coast.. Safer Seas..’, which aptly reflects the commitment and resolve of the service, in its motto ‘Vayam Rakshamah’ meaning ‘We Protect’.” 

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