New Delhi: India is strengthening security along its vulnerable coastline, stretching over 4,000km, more than eight years after terrorists from Pakistan hijacked boats to launch a series of deadly attacks over four days in Mumbai.
A comprehensive Coastal Security Scheme (CSS) to strengthen security infrastructure in coastal states is being implemented, the home ministry said.
“Under the scheme, coastal states and Union territories have operationalized 183 Coastal Police Stations (CPSs). Coastal security is reviewed periodically with all stakeholders by National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS) against threats from the sea," minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, told the Lok Sabha last week.
Tamil Nadu has set up 32 CPSs, followed by 22 in Gujarat, 21 in Andhra Pradesh, 19 in Maharashtra and 18 in Odisha, with the number touching 183 police stations across all coastal states and Union territories, according to the ministry of home affairs.
Tamil Nadu has also set up 40 coastal check posts. Maharashtra has set up 32 and Gujarat 25.
To improve patrolling along the coast, 204 boats and vessels have been deployed across all coastal regions, along with 280 four-wheelers and 546 two-wheelers, as per the data.
Joint operations centres set up by the Indian Navy as command and control hubs for coastal security at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair have also become fully operational. Paramilitary forces and the Indian Army have also been manning open riverine spaces in north India to thwart infiltration attempts.
“Setting up all this takes time—it cannot be done overnight. We had 2,500 people in the Intelligence Bureau (IB), set up training academies and put in place the required logistical support. But this is a slow process. It takes time for these people to finish training, go out on the field and start gathering intelligence inputs," said G.K. Pillai, a former home secretary.
Coastal security was, at present, being overseen by state police officials, Coast Guard and the Indian Navy, according to the home ministry.
“Coastal areas of the country are safeguarded by the police forces of the respective coastal states and Union territories, which have jurisdiction of up to 12 nautical miles from the coast and by the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy who have jurisdiction over the entire maritime zone up to 200 nautical miles, including the 12 nautical miles of territorial waters. Thus, there is adequate three-tier security for the coastal states of the country," Rijiju said.