India has a coastline of 7,516.6 km. bordering the mainland and the islands with Bay of Bengal in the East, the Indian Ocean on the South and the Arabian Sea on the West. There are nine States viz. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal and four Union Territories viz. Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands situated on the coast of India.
IMPORTANCE OF COASTS
- Indian coasts supports a dense population in the numerous towns and cities that dot the coastline.
- Special Economic Zones have been set up along the sea the major and non-major ports resulting in growth of a number of industrial cities.
- The import of crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas has opened up avenues for the establishment of oil refineries and storage tanks by major oil companies.
- The discovery of oil and gas in the sea has also led to the development of offshore oil and gas platforms in the coastal waters of the country.
- The Indian coasts also house several strategic installations such as naval bases, nuclear power plants, satellite and missile launching ranges, and ports that are of prime importance for the security, development and prosperity of the country.
SECURITY CONCERNS OF THE COAST
- Terrorism: India has been riled with cross-border terrorism due to the proximity of Indian coasts to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Gulf countries.
- Smuggling and Trafficking: The coasts have since historical times acted as a source and destination for smuggled and trafficked items. Gold, electronic goods, narcotics, and arms are few majorly smuggled goods.
- Illegal Migration: India’s land boundaries have always been porous to infiltration; stricter land borders have pushed these infiltrations to sea routes. The eastern Indian seas has been witnessing a steady increase in illegal migration from Bangladesh.
- Piracy and Armed Robbery: Piracy mostly takes place on the high seas but in India, the shallow waters of the Sundarbans have been witnessing ‘acts of violence and detention’ by gangs of criminals akin to piracy.
- Straying of Fishermen: The frequent straying of fishermen into neighboring country waters has not only jeopardized the safety of the fishermen but has also raised national security concerns.
COASTAL SECURITY SYSTEM
There is a three-tier arrangement for protection and maritime security of the country involving the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police of the coastal States and Union Territories.
- Launched in 2005
- Aimed at strengthening infrastructure of Coastal Police Force for patrolling and surveillance of coastal areas, particularly shallow areas close to coast.
- During implementation of Coastal Security Scheme Phase-I, various Coastal Security measures including supply of interceptor boats, 73 Coastal Police Stations, 97 Checkposts, 58 Out posts and 30 Barracks were undertaken.
- A National-level forum and apex mechanism for Maritime and Coastal Security
Joint Operation Centers (JOCs)
- 24×7 manned JOCs are jointly maintained by the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard, and the Marine Police using commissioning of radar stations
- Installation of technologies such as Chain of Static Sensors (CSS) including radar, Automatic Identification System (AIS), Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT), Day & Night cameras, communication systems.
The National Command Control Communication Intelligence (NC3I) Network
- It interlinks 51 stations of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard for inter-agency coordination.
Identification of Fishermen
- Issue of ID cards to all fishermen with a single centralized database toto facilitate vessel identification and tracking.