New Delhi: The ageing platforms and systems of the Indian Coast Guard will soon be replaced and the Government is working out a suitable schedule for their replacement through the forthcoming annual acquisition plans, defence minister AK Antony has said. The defence minister was speaking at the silver jubilee function of the agency's aviation wing, held at the Coast Guard Air Station, Daman.
Speaking on the occasion, Antony emphasized the need for a faster pace of modernization of the Coast Guard in view of the emerging seaward threat. He mentioned that as India gained international stature and became an economic powerhouse, the Coast Guard's responsibilities were bound to increase. He also pointed out that as infiltration from land borders was becoming increasingly difficult for terrorists, thanks to constant vigil by security forces and the changing environment in Jammu & Kashmir the sea route was becoming another option for these elements.
"As the pressure on terrorists on land increases, this threat is more likely than ever to come from the sea," he said.
He also said that the government is aware of the need for acquiring new aircraft and surveillance equipment for the Coast Guard for it to perform its multifarious role effectively. "Enforcement of maritime laws is another domain that is becoming increasingly important due to rising threat of terrorism from the sea. To meet such varied challenges, up-gradation and modernization of aviation assets is necessary."
Antony said that 73 coastal state police stations will soon be set up for better vigil along the country's vast coastline. He also said that three Pollution Control Vessels would be procured during this year.
Earlier, he reviewed a ceremonial parade and gave away the trophy for the Best Aviation Unit, which was jointly awarded to the Kolkata-based No. 700 Squadron flying Dornier aircraft and the Chetak Flight operating at Port Blair. An impressive fly past by Advanced Light Helicopters and Chetaks preceded the peel-off sequence by five Dornier aircraft in a head-on approach.
Also present on the occasion were vice admiral RF Contractor, director general, Indian Coast Guard, as well as commanders of the Coast Guard regions East and West and Andaman and Nicobar.