New Delhi: India may have a new force to guard its maritime boundaries, with a proposal coming up for discussion at a high-level meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday.

The proposed force would guard maritime frontiers closer to the country’s landmass. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) protects India’s maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone.

The ICG has a larger mandate and territory to cover. The proposal for raising a new central armed police force—Coastal Border Police Force (CBPF)—was discussed at the meeting which was attended by the top home ministry officials and chiefs of central armed police forces (CAPF), a home ministry statement said.

India has a vast coastline of 7,516kms touching 13 states and union territories (UTs). It also has around 1,197 islands. Apart from the raising of CBPF, the meeting discussed housing issues related to CAPF personnel, recruitment to fill up vacancies, shortage of doctors for central forces, setting up an institute of medical sciences for them.

The cadre review of central forces, review of the BSF’s air wing and issues related to procurement of various items for CAPFs also came up for discussion, the statement said. Singh said the home ministry will look at the issues raised by the forces favourably.

Keeping in view the need for more young personnel for field jobs, the home minister asked the CAPFs to take necessary steps, the statement said. Ministers of state for home Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Gangaram Ahir also attended the meeting.