The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has told all stakeholders of Coastal Security that unless they worked with a unified purpose, there would be no real progress. Chairing a meeting on Coastal Security here last evening, he directed that all the remaining gaps in the Coastal Security Framework be bridged in minimum time possible. He also asked the senior officials to work towards operationalzing Phase-II of Coastal Security.
The meeting was attended among others by the Cabinet Secretary Shri Ajit Seth, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, Defence Secretary Shri Shashikant Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping Shri K Mohandas, Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests Shri P. Chatterji, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Shri R Gangadharan, Secretary, Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs Shri AE Ahmed, Special Secretary, Ministry of Defence Shri RK Mathur, DG Coast Guard Vice Admiral Anil Chopra and Senior Officers of MoD, Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.Expressing concern over certain incidents such as the grounding of MT Pavit, off the Indian Coastline, which showed gaps in the Coastal Security Framework, Shri Antony emphasized that all stakeholders including ministries like Shipping, MHA, P&NG and Agriculture should complete pending tasks expeditiously. He also observed that there was no room for any delay or slackness on matters relating to coastal security and called upon the coastal States to be more proactive. Referring to the recurring oil spills and their impact on environment, Shri Antony called for urgent and immediate action from all concerned ministries and departments.
Presentations were made by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard on the actions taken till date on Coastal Security and the outstanding areas of concern. The Cabinet Secretary informed about the decisions of the last meeting of the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS). He said he had put timelines on critical issues which he would be reviewing next month.
The progress on registration of fishing vessels was noted to be quite slow in the case of certain coastal States. This was expected to be completed by the end of next month. Shri Antony called upon the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat to expedite the process. The meeting was informed that data collection for ID cards for fishermen would be completed by November this year.
The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas informed that procurement of Immediate Support Vessels (ISV) would commence by November next year. Similarly, the Vessel and Air Traffic Management System (VATMS) is expected to be finalized in about 8 to 10 months. It was also decided to progress the security of Single Point Moorings (SPM) with CISF as the agency for security. The issue of laning of ports was also discussed.
Boats supplied under MHA’s Coastal Security Programme (Phase-I) and their usage was also reviewed. It was noted that there were some gaps in deployment and management of these assets which was discussed in detail to ensure their optimum utilization for enhancing maritime security.