Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday reviewed the operational preparedness, infrastructure development and modernisation plan of Indian Coast Guard.
She chaired the meeting of consultative committee of ministry of defence that also included junior defence minister Dr. Subhash Bhamre and members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Indian Coast Guard is responsible for protecting the national interests in maritime zones of India which involves the surveillance of sea areas of approximately 2.01 million square kilometres.
Rajendra Singh, director general of Indian coast guard and other senior officials of India’s maritime border guarding force briefed the defence minister and other committee members about the level of preparedness of the force.
India has invested heavily into modernisation of Indian coast guard to prevent any repeat of 26/11 Mumbai Attack kind of raids on its coastal cities using sea routes.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also laid emphasis on modernization of Indian Coast Guard with a definitive action program for the period of 2017 to 2022 under which 43 ships, 20 aircraft are to be acquired in addition of development of other infrastructure.
Last month Nirmala Sitharaman has also approved modernisation plan of 17 Dornier aircraft of Indian coast guard at a cost of Rs. 950 crore to boost the surveillance and rescue capabilities of the force.
The modernisation plan of Dornier Aircraft at a cost of Rs. 950 crore also included modifying three Indian coast guard Dornier aircraft for detecting sea pollution as the force is India’s nodal agency for monitoring and tackling sea pollution.
The upgrades will be carried out by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), the public sector aircraft manufacturer.
Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated that the ICG discharges a silent but invaluable service to the nation and lauded the efforts of all personnel of Coast Guard for its multiple successful search and rescue missions, humanitarian aid, assistance to fishermen and increased surveillance capability.
Defence Minister appreciated the Coast Guard for successfully implementing her directions on use of local language speaking personnel onboard the ships and aircraft to alert the fishermen during emergencies and rescue operations.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will review the functioning and status of Ordnance Depots in the next consultative meeting.