New Delhi, Oct 8: Nearly four years after 26/11 when 10 Pakistani terrorists came from the sea to unleash terror in Mumbai, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday held a inter-ministerial meeting during which he stressed on a time-bound action plan to ensure full proof coastal security.
The action plan includes doubling manpower, assets and infrastructure by the 13th plan. Officials of nearly 13 ministries and departments attended the meeting.
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral D.K. Joshi, Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, A.K. Mangotra, secretary (border management), Ministry of Home Affairs and G.C. Pati, secretary, department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries were among those who attended the meeting.
“As we come closer to 26/11 this year, we are reminded of the day on which our security faced the biggest challenge. We resolved to convert the challenge into opportunity and in the last four years a number of steps have been taken by the ministry of defence,” Antony told officials.
Alluding to a slew of steps taken to enhance coastal security network in the country, Antony underlined that there must be a time-bound action plan to complete all pending decisions at the earliest.
He noted that there has been coordination amongst the stakeholders towards coastal security and assured that Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard will complete their actions on time but that the actions required from other departments and coastal states needs to be monitored closely.
He also requested the cabinet secretary for fixing timeline to monitor their performance. Antony stressed that the last four years saw “an unprecedented growth” in the capabilities of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard to tackle maritime threats.
“Assets, infrastructure and manpower – all have grown and the two services are likely to almost double their capabilities by the end of the 13th Plan,” he said.
Alluding to the installation of 46 coastal static radars (36 in mainland and 10 in island territories), Antony said he has directed the authorities to complete radar installation on the mainland by Nov 26, 2012 and to ensure the same for the island territories by March 2013.
He announced plans to launch the phase II of ‘coastal security initiatives’. Various ministries, coastal state governments and coastal communities are key stakeholders in coastal security. Antony reiterated that fishermen in our coastal states are the “eyes and ears” of the coastal security and underscored the need for them to be an integral part of all the planning.
He laid stress on strengthening of the department of fisheries of states and departments of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries and requested the cabinet secretary to monitor this aspect.