Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the 35th Coast Guard Commanders Conference at Coast Guard Headquarters on Wednesday. Speaking on the occasion, he appreciated the efforts of the ICG in augmenting maritime and coastal security not only by a deployment of assets, but also by efficient exploitation of the Coastal Security Network (CSN) Phase I and expressed hope that CSN Phase II would also be implemented on time.
Due to the current security scenario, he exhorted ICG to further bolster the Coastal Security mechanism by increasing patrolling so as to avoid infiltration by anti-national elements through sea.
While complimenting officers and men of the Indian Coast Guard for displaying utmost dedication and professionalism in discharging their duties to endow credible maritime safety and security, Parrikar stated that since its inception, the Coast Guard has rendered yeoman service to seafarers by ensuring their safety and security.
He commended the ICG for their protracted efforts with Pakistan and Sri Lankan security agencies which resulted in reduced apprehension of Indian fishing boats. He was also glad to know that no Indian fishermen is under detention at Sri Lanka and requested ICG to also negotiate release of detained Indian fishing boats.
The Defence Minister promised all assistance of the Ministry of Defence for cases relating to the operational efficiency and those pertaining to the growth of the service, be it the manpower or new acquisitions. He welcomed the efforts of the ICG to promote inclusiveness of all ranks by way of conducting the Subordinate officers’ Conference and the ICG’S push towards the “Make in India” policy of the Govt. of India by ordering indigenous ships to strengthen the fleet. He wished the Coast Guard Commanders’ Conference a grand success and meaningful deliberations.
On 9 September 2016, Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Sarathi’, the third ship in the series of six Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) was commissioned by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Goa, in the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Director General Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh, Chairman & Managing Director Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) Rear Admiral (Retd) Shekhar Mital and other senior dignitaries of the Central and State Government.
‘Sarathi’, meaning charioteer, is 105 meters long OPV designed and built indigenously by GSL and is fitted with most advanced state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machineries. The ship will be based in Kochi to form part of the Naval Training Squadron, but will also be deployed for the EEZ surveillance and other duties to safeguard the maritime interests of India. Presently, Indian Coast Guard has a fleet of 123 ships/boats, further 68 ships/boats are at various stages of construction at different shipyards. With the commissioning of this vessel and other assets, the Indian Coast Guard will emerge as a stronger and potent force to address the emerging security challenges in maritime zone of India.
The conference was attended by senior officers of the Ministry of Defence and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) which included Director General Rajendra Singh, Additional Director Generals and Coast Guard Regional Commanders. The annual conference is a platform for all regional commanders to put forth the roadmap for future and discuss various policy and strategic issues.