November 26, 2012
Anniversaries provide an occasion to assess the achievements and setbacks in any endeavour as well as formulate plans for the future. In this context, the fourth anniversary of the 26 November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai provides an opportunity to review the measures that were put in place subsequent to the event to secure India’s coasts from sub-conventional threats. In fact, many of the measures had already been recommended by the Group of Ministers’ Report of 2001, but the government was not motivated enough to implement them because of lack of threat perception from the sea. The November 2008 attack, however, once again brought to the fore the vulnerability of India’s coasts and the urgent need for ensuring coastal security.
During the last four years, the Indian government has made concerted efforts to build a robust coastal security mechanism. To begin with, the existing multilayered patrolling and surveillance arrangement have been furthered strengthened. The Indian Navy has been brought into the folds of the coastal security mechanism and entrusted with the overall responsibility of maritime security including coastal and offshore security. The Indian Coast Guard has been assigned the additional responsibility of patrolling the territorial waters as well as coordinating between the central and state agencies. The procurement and recruitment plans of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard have been approved and funds sanctioned to provide both these services with additional manpower, assets and infrastructure thus enhancing their capabilities.