Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday reviewed the progress on various steps and actions taken to enhance coastal security.
Antony noted that the Ministry of Defence has taken a number of steps during the last five years towards making India's coastal security more robust.
The Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have both experienced an unprecedented enhancement in their capabilities.
Antony acknowledged the action taken for installation of 46 Coastal Static Radars (36 in Mainland and 10 in Island territories) which would help in identification and monitoring of maritime traffic.
Antony stated that a seamless and integrated approach by all the stakeholders, viz. various Ministries in Government of India, coastal state governments and coastal communities, is essential for a strong coastal security.
He emphasised that fishermen in the coastal states are the 'eyes and ears' for overall coastal security.
He said they have to be made as an integral part of all our security planning.
The registration, movement and tracking of Dhows was also highlighted in view of some recent cases.
DG, Shipping confirmed that registration of Dhows is being done under MS Act.
Furthermore, for all active Dhows, an annual survey certification process is also in place.
Regarding the issue of monitoring and tracking of Dhows, the same is possible since Dhows have to be fitted with AIS.
DG, Shipping has also given directions to all ISPS compliant ports that information on the Dhows be given to Navy and Coast Guard for monitoring/ surveillance purposes.
Separately, DG, Shipping has also initiated consultation with coastal state governments for delegating the work regarding registration of all fishing boats.
A presentation was then made by Indian Navy regarding actions taken by Ministry of Defence till date on coastal security. The actions taken by other Ministries/Departments and the areas of concern were highlighted and discussed.
Antony reiterated the need for urgent and immediate action from all stakeholders in matters of coastal security and desired that all concerned work in a coordinated manner so as to ensure a seamless and robust coastal security mechanism.
The meeting was attended by NSA, Cabinet Secretary, Chief of Naval staff, Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary DDP, Secretary AHDF and Senior Officers of Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gases, Department of Customs, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.