New Delhi, 19 September Defence Minister A K Antony today asked the Coast Guard to enhance and consolidate its overall capabilities to meet growing challenges in regional waters.
His comments came in the backdrop of intelligence inputs suggesting that Pakistan-based militant groups including Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed could use sea routes to infiltrate into the country.
Antony, speaking at the commanders’ conference of the Coast Guard, assured the force that the government would support the expeditious conclusion of projects to acquire equipment and augument human resources on shore to support sea -going assets.
Apperciating the cooperation extended to the recently formed marine coastal police, which is under the Union home ministry,Antony stressed “the need for the Indian Coast Guard to further enhance and consolidate its overall capabilities in meeting the growing challenges in our maritime zones”.
Coast Guard Director General, Vice Admiral Rusi F Contractor, made a presentation before the minister during which he said that the Coast Guard planned to set up six stations during the 11th Five-Year Plan.
To a question later about the possibility of militants using sea routes to infiltrate into the country, Contractor said his force was prepared to meet new challenges. But he also made it clear that he needed additional vessels and men, a demand that has already placed before the government.
Three more Coast Guard stations are being set up under the coastal security scheme of the home ministry on a fast track, he said.