Coast Guard 70 percent short of requirements

January 21st, 2009 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Jan 21 (IANS) Admitting that the Indian Coast Guard was a staggering 70 percent short of its requirements, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Wednesday that the rapid modernizing of the country’s maritime forces was his ministry’s top priority.”Earlier, we could say the coast was safe. But it is no longer the case now. We had neglected the coastline. We have to be more prepared now,” he said.

He was addressing a press conference after the induction ceremony of the India’s largest Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) built by the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), a public sector undertaking specializing in building maritime vessels and related technology.

According to Antony, strengthening the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard and the coastal police apparatus was high on the government’s agenda.

The chinks in India’s maritime defences have been blamed for the ease with which 10 Pakistani terrorists used the sea route to land in Mumbai Nov 26 and unleash a carnage that lasted for over 60 hours and which claimed the lives of more than 170 people, including 26 foreigners and injured more than 300.

Pointing to the incessant delay in the procurement of defence related equipment, Anthony said the government was looking at the active participation of the private sector in manufacturing a whole range of equipment if the Indian armed forces were to be modernized and better armed within a short time span.

“Our procedure for defence procurement is time consuming. Apart from our PSUs (public sector undertakings), the private sector should also start production of defence related products,” Antony said, adding that the new Defence Procurement Policy-2008 had a definite thrust towards private sector participation.

Antony said that if India was to be really secure in the present environment, it had to be 100 percent self reliant in defence production.

“We cannot depend completely on another country, even a friendly one, in times of crisis,” he added.

The Indian Coast Guard mans a crucial corridor 12 to 200 nautical miles off the country’s 7,500 km-long coast.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |