A panel comprising the top internal security brass of the country has favoured the strengthening of the Coast Guard for a better safeguarding of the country’s maritime boundaries, rather than raising a new coastal security force.
The proposal to raise a new Coastal Border Police Force (CBPF), on the lines of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), like the BSF and the ITBP, was mooted at a meeting convened in August by the Union home ministry with the chiefs of these forces.
The panel comprising the directors general of these forces discussed the matter at a recent meeting and concluded that the Coast Guard would be the best force to counter terror and other security threats along the over-7,000-km-long coastline of the country, official sources said.
The panel was also of the opinion that the Coast Guard should be strengthened by providing advanced surveillance and security gadgets and legal powers to it.
The sources said the panel proposed that the Coast Guard be given an effective backup by the CAPFs deployed in the coastal areas, such as the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Border Security Force (BSF).
It was also discussed whether some personnel of the CAPFs could be sent on a special stint to the Coast Guard to work as external experts.
The recommendations made by the panel were sent to the home ministry, the sources said, adding that the ministry was expected to hold a fresh meeting on the matter soon.
At the August meeting, it was proposed that the new force — the CBPF — would guard the maritime frontiers closer to the country’s landmass.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) protects the country’s maritime interests and enforces the maritime law. The territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone, come under the ICG’s jurisdiction.
It also has a war-time role of assisting the Navy.
India has a 7,516-km coastline, touching 13 states and union territories. It also covers around 1,200 islands