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Antony asks Navy, CG to quickly plug gaps in coastal security

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Defence Minister A K Antony. A File photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister A K Antony carried out an in-depth review of coastal security mechanism put in place post-26/11 and ordered Navy and Coast Guard to quickly integrate all maritime agencies into the security grid to plug "gaps" in the apparatus.

At a 90-minute meeting in South Block here, Antony also did a quick check on the progress made in acquiring new ships, patrol vessels and interceptor boats for the Navy and Coast Guard for strengthening surveillance along the 7,500-km long coastline.

Addressing top security brass, the Defence Minister said that coastal security should "be the prime concern and all (agencies) follow up the measures taken in a time-bound manner to plug the gaps in the apparatus".

He also said Mumbai-type attacks "will not be tolerated at any cost" and asked all maritime agencies to hasten the process of integration with the coastal security grid and coordination in intelligence gathering and sharing during operations.

The meeting was attended among others by National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, apart from Secretaries for Shipping, Fisheries, and Animal Husbandry, and officials from Home Ministry and Border Management departments.

Antony said the Navy and the Coast Guard, which have been carrying out patrolling and surveillance off the coast in the last 11 months post-26/11 terror strikes, would come up with a plan to address any deficiencies found.

"The Navy and Coast Guard will take a fresh look at the gaps in coastal security if any and come up with a new plan to fix these deficiencies," he said.

Noting that coastal security was on top of the government priority, he said the agencies involved in ensuring coastal security were adopting "an integrated approach" put in place post-Mumbai terror attacks.

Chandrasekhar, who spoke on the occasion, said any effective mechanism could be achieved only when there was a combined action involving the Navy, Coast Guard and the state governments.

"States have to be integrated into the system for results as involvement of states have produced results in flow of information, which has recently started. In this, the role of fishermen is very important," he added.

Narayanan, while stressing on the vital role played by the two coastal security agencies, wanted the response time of the forces to be shortened.

The meeting was informed that the government would spend Rs 6,000 crore on procurements for Navy and Coast Guard and another Rs 300 crore to establish a chain of 46 radars, a critical component of coastal security.

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