By N. C. Bipindra
New Delhi: India has concluded a contract for putting in place 38 more static radars all along the 7,500-km coastline to plug the existing gaps in its Coastal Surveillance Network.
The deal is for the Phase II of the project approved by the government post the Nov. 11, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The project, being executed by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) through Indian companies led by the lead integrator, state-run Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), had been approved by the Ministry of Defence in Feb. 2017 at a Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting.
The nod given for ‘Acceptance of Necessity‘ at the DAC meeting had fixed a budgetary allocation of Rs 803 crore ($112 million) for the Phase II of the project.
The contract, between ICG and BEL, was concluded at the DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow on Friday, Feb. 7, during the ‘Bandhan‘ ceremony, when the government celebrated the signing of the over 200 Memoranda of Understanding during this year’s signature defence exhibition of India, according to two officials, with direct knowledge of the development.
Under the Phase I, at a cost of Rs 700 crore ($98 million), India had set up 46 static radars with help from the Directorate General of Light Houses and other similar coastal establishments in erecting the Coastal Surveillance Network, all along the Indian mainland and the island territories of Andaman, Nicobar, Lakshadweep and Minicoy on eastern and western seaboards.
The Phase II of the project will cover areas along the entire coastline at places where a gap had been felt by the Indian Coast Guard and other maritime security agencies after conducting several exercises to test the Phase I of the project.
These new radar network will plug into the existing network to give seamless, full coverage of the Indian coast for monitoring and responding to emerging security situations, the officials said, asking not to be named, as they are not authorised under military laws.
When the Phase II of the project is completed in the next one-and-half to two years, India’s coastal security network will get strengthened enough to prevent any security breach, such as the Mumbai terror strike over 11 years ago.