New Delhi: In line with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval today commissioned an Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) built by state-run defence shipbuilder Goa Shipyard Limited.
India’s Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Indian Coast Guard Director General K. Natarajan and Goa Shipyard Chairman and Managing Director Commodore B. B. Nagpal (Retired) were present to witness the commissioning of ICG Ship Sajag through video conferencing mode, according to a Ministry of Defence statement.
In his address during the event, Ajit Doval said the ICG came into being post 1971 war, when it was assessed that maritime borders are equally vital as land borders.
“The blueprint for a multi-dimension Coast Guard was conceived by the visionary Rustamji Committee even as the United Nations Convention of the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) was being negotiated and India’s assets off Mumbai High were growing,” Doval was quoted as saying.
“The ICG, which was created through an Act of Parliament in 1978, has traversed a long journey in the last four decades.”
Ajit Doval commended Goa Shipyard for indigenously developing ships for the maritime armed forces on time with state-of-the-art machinery and latest technology sensors and equipment that will enable ICG to undertake varied charter of duties within and beyond Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
India builds all its Coast Guard ships domestically in its shipyards, including privately owned ones, in line with the Modi government’s vision of ‘Make in India’.
ICG is a multifarious force, undertaking concurrent operations and being the first responder for any developing situation at sea. Their personnel work in very diverse conditions and circumstances to safeguard the vast coastline.
Doval mentioned that Coast Guard supported India’s coastal populace, as also to undertake diverse roles like rescue operations during cyclones, marine pollution response and anti-narco operations. He also noted the contributions of the ICG towards saving precious lives at sea during the recent cyclone Tauktae-induced disaster in Mumbai High.
The Indian NSA said ICG plays an important role for supporting the neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean Region. He added that this lean and visible service plays critical role in anti-smuggling and anti-narcotics, both nationally and internationally.
The service has recently undertaken various pollution response, firefighting and interdiction operations beyond the Indian Ocean Region, when called upon by littoral countries.
Natarajan briefed the NSA about the massive firefighting operation being undertaken by the Indian Coast Guard onboard a container vessel X-Press Pearl off Colombo.
Referring to ICG being the fourth largest in the world with almost 160 ships and 62 aircraft, Natarajan mentioned to the NSA that the Ministry of Defence has made efforts to grow the force levels to 200 ships and 100 aircraft.
Doval said the future will see a more complex security scenarios, and the ICG will have greater responsibilities in years to come as India’s maritime zones expand to include entitlements in the Extended Continental Shelf.