India Carries Out Port Security Audits

File image courtesy Rajat Kansal

By MarEx 2016-06-16 21:33:43

India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Thursday for intensified efforts to secure the nation's ports and coastal waterways against terrorist infiltration and attack. 

"The vulnerability of our coasts was exposed in 1993 when explosives were smuggled into Raigad and then in 2008 when terrorists attacked Mumbai," he said in a social media message. "We need to make our coastal security foolproof and impregnable."

India has already carried out two coastal security plans, and Singh called for public input for a third. In addition, "to identify vulnerable points in our coastal security we are carrying out security audits of all major and non-major ports," he said.

His ministry has bolstered radar and AIS stations along India’s 4,600 mile coastline to improve maritime domain awareness, and will be adding another 38 radar installations. Through the Indian Coast Guard, it is also working to integrate the fishing community – which by its nature has a constant presence in coastal waters – into the security system. "Consequent upon the implementation of these important initiatives, our coasts are far more secure now," he said.

The officials of nine coastal states, four territories, five national agencies and at least one representative association attended a maritime security meeting with Singh on Thursday. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis suggested the creation of a new Central Marine Police Force for coastal and port protections, plus broader "e-surveillance." State marine police forces already augment the Coast Guard presence, and Sing said that a National Marine Police Training Institute and State Marine Police Training Centers were under consideration. 

India suffered a devastating terrorist attack in 2008: ten members of Pakistani Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba used inflatable boats to come ashore at Colaba, Mumbai, then went on a multi-day assault on the city’s populace. On their arrival they were reportedly spotted by fishermen, who told media that they had reported the unusual activity to local police.