Coast Guard Day
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is celebrating its 47th Raising Day on 01 Feb 2023. From a modest beginning with just 07 surface platforms in 1978, ICG has grown into a formidable force with 158 ships and 78 aircraft in its inventory and is likely to achieve targeted force levels of 200 surface platforms and 80 aircraft by 2025.
ICG is now considered to be one of renowned Coast Guards in the world due to its achievements and for the efficiency with which it operates its assets in a challenging environment thereby ensuring round the clock safety and security. True to its motto “Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”, the service has to its credit saving over 11,881 lives since its inception in 1977 with 279 lives saved in the year 2022 alone.
To ensure security in the Maritime Zones of India, the Indian Coast Guard has maintained 24 x 7 vigil by deploying about 50 to 60 ships and 10 to 12 aircraft daily. This is to fulfill the nation’s expectation to keep our seas free and secure in order to facilitate sustainable progress on blue economy efforts by various stakeholders, besides ensuring a safe environment for maritime transportation through our sea lanes. It is envisioned that the future ICG shall be omnipresent by showing presence all over as यत्र, तत्र, सर्वत्र.
The vast seas with overlapping jurisdiction provide avenues for anti-nationals to exploit the sea routes by posing themselves as mariners at work at sea. The Maritime Law Enforcement has been strengthened multifold and the hawk eye vigil by the ICG in our near coast and blue waters has resulted in seizure of weapons, contraband and narcotics worth Rs. 2924 Crores. The recent cases of apprehension of Pak Boat ‘Al Sohili’ with about 40 Kg of Narcotics alongwith 06 pistols, 12 magazines & 120 live rounds are telling examples of ICG’s robust detection and response mechanism against such inimical designs. We have also institutionalized mechanism of sharing information with littoral countries, as a result of which they have been successful in apprehension of drugs and contraband worth Rs.3260 Cr in 03 different operations. Our collaborative actions have created an effective deterrence and created a shield at sea where the penetration by the smugglers has been made nearly impossible.
On the aviation front, the Coast Guard is now more focused on updating its existing capabilities. Recently, the ICG has concluded a maiden contract for 10 Multicopter Drones in consonance with GoI policy of embracing drone technology, capable of being launched from both ships & shore stations.Further, to overcome the obsolescence in Dorniers, a contract has been signed for Mid-life upgrade of 17 Aircraft with state-of-the-art system/sensors. Procurement of additional 100 drones by 2025, Multi Mission Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MMMA) and Twin Engine Helicopters (TEHH) are also envisaged to bolster the operational capability of the Indian Coast Guard.In addition, modernization of airfields operated by the Coast Guard is also being undertaken under the ‘Modernization of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI)’ project with installation and commissioning of modern airfield equipment like DVOR, HPDME and Air Traffic Management System (ATMS). The said up-gradation of navigation aids and infrastructure under this project would enhance the operational capability of air operations even in poor visibility and adverse weather conditions, whilst enhancing aero safety.
In keeping with the nation’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ and ‘Neighbourhood First’ the Indian Coast Guard has imparted training to several Officers and Personnel below Officer ranks from friendly foreign Countries in the year 2022. In the last one year, sanction for creation of 657 posts have been accorded by GoI, which will assist Indian Coast Guard in effectively discharging its duties as a credible, reliable and omnipresent maritime force.
On the marine environment protection front, the ICG being the Central Coordinating Authority for Oil Spill response in Indian EEZ, has ensured that there were no major oil spill incidences in Indian waters throughout last year. ICG has undertaken active pollution response preventive measures and coordinated with stakeholders for mitigation of oil spill risks during grounding of MV Princess Miral off New Mangalore, MT Global King-1 off Porbandar and MT Parth off Ratnagiri in last one year. In order to test the readiness, a National Level Pollution response Exercise (NATPOLREX-VIII) was conducted off Goa in Apr 2022 wherein 13 CG Ships, 09 Aircraft, two foreign Coast Guard Ships participated. The exercise which was witnessed by Observers from 19 countries showcased ICG capability to respond to any major oil and Hazardous and Noxious Sustances (HNS) spill in Indian EEZ and to extend support to friendly countries in case of any contingency.
The ICG has been a pioneer in inducting indigenous assets in line with ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ wherein the Service recently has inducted 06 ships built from Indian Shipyards, 04 Air Squadrons by inducting 16 ALHs built by M/s HAL in the year goneby. Further, 21 ships are under construction at 03 shipyards including 02 Pollution Control vessels, which will be our frontline ships for combating marine pollution in our AoR and beyond.
The President of India, Vice President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister have extended greetings and congratulated the Indian Coast Guard on completion of 46 glorious years of yeoman service to the nation and appreciated the remarkable role played by the service in pursuit of the nation’s interests in the Maritime Zones.