Taking stock of the Indian Coast Guard on its 43rd Raising Day - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Stuff.

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Sunday, 31 January 2021

Taking stock of the Indian Coast Guard on its 43rd Raising Day

A Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel, which critics say has been too lightly armed by the Coast Guard

 

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will celebrate its 43rd Raising Day on 1st February 2021.

 

From a modest beginning in 1978, when it was equipped with just seven surface ships, the ICG has grown into the fourth largest Coast Guard in the world. It currently operates 156 ships and 62 aircraft.

 

By 2025, the ICG intends to achieve a force level of 200 surface ships and 80 aircraft. 

 

There is criticism that the Coast Guard’s vessels, even the large Vikram-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) that are now entering service, are too lightly armed and that they do not even have a 76 mm gun. Critics say that ICG vessels will be of little use to the navy in war, when the coast guard comes under command of the navy.


The reason for the light armament of coast guard vessels that is the assessment by early ICG commanders that they needed vessels suited for law-and-order tasks rather than for combat. 


The key requirement was vessels with the long endurance needed to patrol a 2.5 million square kilometre EEZ. The existing fleet of Fast Interceptor Craft lacked “sea legs”, so the Coast Guard went in for cheap, lightly armed vessels with fuel reserves that allowed them to patrol at sea for at least 5,000 nautical miles. 

 

Even with these lightly armed vessels, the ICG counts that it has saved over 10,000 lives and apprehended over 14,000 miscreants since it started. On an average, the ICG saves one life every second day at sea. It remains true to its motto “Vayam Rakshamah”, which means: “We Protect”,

 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the ICG has maintained a 24x7x365 vigil in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), deploying about 50 ships and 12 aircraft daily. In the year 2020, the ICG has seized contraband worth about ₹ 1,500 crore and apprehended 10 foreign fishing boats with 80 miscreants illegally operating in the Indian EEZ.

 

The ICG’s operational posture of “Preventive and Measured Response”, which was introduced just over a year ago, has resulted in over 6,000 fishing boats and about 40,000 fishermen being escorted to safe harbours during the passage of 11 cyclones last year.  

 

The Indian Coast Guard created maritime history in dousing a raging fire onboard the Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) New Diamond – a 333 metre-long vessel carrying about 300,000 metric tonnes of crude oil off Sri Lanka – thereby averting a major ecological disaster.  



The, ICG also provided pollution response assistance to Mauritius during the grounding of Merchant Vessel Wakashioand provided 30 tonnes of pollution response equipment and training to Mauritius personnel. In this manner, the ICG collaborates with littoral countries in combating transnational maritime crimes and in enhancing maritime safety in the Indian Ocean Region.

 

To harmonise the “Maritime and Civil Aviation Search & Rescue Mechanism”, ICG conducted a Search and Rescue Exercise-2020 (SAREX-2020) to validate the existing mechanisms for undertaking mass rescue operations. The ICG works in close coordination with central and state agencies to develop a robust Coastal Security mechanism.




1 comment:

  1. Sir

    Its an unrelated question i am about to ask...Do we are going to lease B1B Lancer from US...

    ReplyDelete

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