Coastal Area Under Close Watch

India’s first institution, National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP) has trained police personnel in three batches in six months and 10 days course to safeguard the nation’s shoreline since its inception October 29, 2018.

The responsibility to start NACP was assigned to today’s world’s largest border guarding force Border Security Force (BSF), also known as the First Line of Defence. The academy is having faculty from the BSF, BSF Water Wing and also guest faculty from Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy and Gujarat Maritime Law University to train coastal police personnel and other security agencies in maritime laws, seamanship, boat work, navigation, weapons handling, usage of sea guidance and surveillance gadgets and survival skills for long haul operations on the sea or during sea turbulent times.

Spread over 100 hectares of land in Mojap Village, District, Devbhoomi, Dwarka, in Gujarat, the academy was made functional in temporary structure on 19 April 2018 by BSF.

After 26/11 terror attack, threat to the coastal security was considered on top priority to safeguard effectively the Indian shoreline. As a result of that NACP came into existence.

India has a vast coastline of 7,516 kms touching nine states and four union territories (UTs) of which state wise coastline is as- Gujarat- 1214.70 Km, Maharashtra- 652.60 Km, Goa- 101.00 Km, Karnataka- 208.00 Km, Kerala- 569.70 Km, Tamilnadu- 906.90 Km Andhra Pradesh- 973.70 Km, Odisha- 476.70 Km, West Bengal- 157.50 Km, Daman & Diu- 42.50 Km Puducherry- 47.60 Km Lakshadweep- 132.00 Km Andman & Nikobar- 1962 Km.

Keeping in view strict vigilance on enemy’s activities and threats from sea routes, the costal and sea area has been protected in security rings technique. Responsibility from shoreline to twelve nautical miles is fixed on marine police, from there up to 200 nautical miles security comes under coastal guard and beyond 200 nautical miles task of guarding falls on Indian Navy. BSF with additional responsibility, has been guarding six creeks spread over 4000 km and 80 km costal border area in Gujarat from Medi to Jakhau and patrols the Sir Creek up to midstream using floating border posts, amphibious vehicles, and foot travel by the Creek Crocodile Commandos round the clock. Whereas Pakistan has more than 12 creeks spread out in about 12000 km. Opposite to Sir Creek, Pakistan has its posts at Pokhar, Jafferi, Badesar, Iqbal Bajwa, Radhapeer under the Creek Battalion headquartered at Sujawal in Sindh provenience. According to sources 4 of the newly acquired 18 marine assault crafts have been deployed in the Creeks. Pakistan has also set up 2 new marine posts west of Pir Samadhi Creek in the area of Bandha Dhora and Harami Dhoro. Pakistan also has 21st Air Defence unit and 3 marine units at Gwadar Port as well Jinnah Naval Base at Ormara. Pakistan has also enhanced air defence along with radar network, air defence missiles, radar operated guns, four Lockheed P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

Sir Creek is a 96 km uninhabited marshlands of Indus river delta on the border of India and Pakistan The creek opens up into the Arabian Sea and separates the Gujarat state of India from the Sindh province of Pakistan. On the Indian side, Sir Creek is one of the six main creeks in this area, others being Vian Wari Creek (Vianbari and Viyanbari), Pir Sanai, Pabevari, Padala 16 km southeast, and eastern most Kori 34 km southeast from Sir Creek. All of these creeks are within undisputed territory of India, except the Sir Creek. The dispute with Pakistan over Sir Creek is that he claims over the entire Sir Creek. Whereas,India contests that according to International Maritime Law the river boundaries between two is to be divided by the mid-channel if the water-body is navigable. BSF is effectively dominating Sir Creek by patrolling and physical presence.

Subhash Trivedi IGP, Buj range told this journalist that security has been further strengthened with latest equipment at Kandla and Mundra ports in Gujarat and other key installations in the coastal region following intelligence inputs of possible infiltration by terrorists from Pakistan through the sea route., According to him, apprehension of Pakistani terrorist infiltration from Haramia Nala, part of Sir creek has always been there though they never succeeded due to alert BSF. Pak trained terrorists had used same sea route to reach Mumbai to attack in 2008. Patrolling at Kandla and Mundra ports in Gujarat has been further strengthen with latest equipment, following inputs that Pakistan-based terrorists may make an infiltration attempt, possibly through the sea route to create a communal disturbance or launch terrorist, said Trivedi. BSF has established check posts at the main entry points of Harami nallah from where Pakistani fisherman can enter checking their entry almost completely.

Two channels, namely “Harami Nala” and “Bondho Dhoro”, are of concern to India for preventing infiltration and illegal activities. Harami Nala is a potential point of infiltration by boat. Chinese activities in the area are of concern too since China Bund just north of Bondho Dhoro was built with finances from China.

It has been observed that India and Pakistan regularly arrest fishermen of each other for crossing the IMBL(International Maritime Boundary Line). But these fishermen are intelligent lot to know where the boundary starts and ends in sea. Some of them are suspected characters clandestinely operate in drug, fake currency and arms smugglings. Even 2000 fishermen act, as ears and eyes of security system have been involved in SOG ( Special Operation Group) from all districts to help us to pin point suspicious activity in coastal areas, yet cannot take risk with them. In yearly meeting, interaction secession with fishermen is held in which BSF, state police and other agencies representative are present.

In the main fishing industry of Gujarat, two lakh fishermen are involved and 33,000 boats are registered. They have been provided with biometric cards and thoroughly being checked before and after fishing activities in creeks. Whereas Pakistani fishermen illegally crossover the IMBL (International Marine Boundary Line) for fishing. Indian fishermen do not fish is allowed in Harami Nala due to access from main land.

Security experts are of this view that to thaw infiltration, smuggling of the arms, ammunition and drugs trafficking, centralized security force deployment in the coastal region is needed. The major threat India has been facing in coastal areas is of drugs smuggling from Pakistan. Pakistan has also been exploiting sea routes for drug trafficking to support terrorist activities in India. In Jan 31, 2020, 200 kg of heroin was seized in Punjab which was transported from Mandvi coastal area in Gujarat. According to official sources Gujarat has been chosen safe transit station for necrotic dispatched from Pakistan. From here, drugs are being moved to Punjab, Mumbai and other states by roads.


More by :  R C Ganjoo

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