Coast Guard inventory pegged at 300 ships, aircraft

Kolkata, Jan 25: Making steady additions to its inventory, the Indian Coast Guard will boast of an impressive fleet of 200 ships and 100 aircraft by 2020, an officer said here Saturday.

“We have been and will continue inducting new ships, vessels and aircraft into our inventory,” Coast Guard Regional Commander (Northeast) and Inspector General K. C. Pande told reporters during the concluding session of a coastal security awareness campaign.

“The vision is to have a fleet of 200 ships and 100 aircraft by 2020 and we are steadily progressing in the right direction,” he said, adding that orders had been placed for more than 100 ships and aircraft.

This will add to its fleet of over 100 ships and boats, 14 air cushion vehicles (ACVs) and over 60 aircraft including the Dornier Do 228 maritime surveillance aircraft, he added.

Expressing concern over increased smuggling, including counterfeit Indian currency from Bangladeshr, Pande said most of this takes place through the land route.

He also admitted the existence of several vulnerable stretches in the Sunderbans and adjoining areas posed a threat to maritime security.

“There are some vulnerable areas, we cannot say they do not exist. But we are keeping a strict vigil. We are one of the most respected Coast Guards in the world and we constantly endeavour to ensure there is no threat to our maritime security,” said Pande.

He also emphasised on the need to sensitise the people, including fishermen living in the coastal areas, on security aspects.

“It has been our constant endeavour to integrate the fishing community into coastal security mechanism and we will continue organising awareness and medical camps to develop them as our additional eyes and ears for vigilance,” added Pande.

IANS