Maritime Security Of India: Future Challenges
Maritime security is a comprehensive concept that derives from the systemic nature of the maritime domain presenting multiple and interrelated requirements for cooperative security by state and non-state actors. It addresses traditional and non-traditional security challenges. Maritime security involves coordinating collective and cooperative risk mitigation and vulnerability reduction efforts in order to protect and promote national, regional and global vital interests, objectives and core values, including those relating to state sovereignty, freedom of navigation, economic development, environment and ocean resources, human and social development, and political stability.
Although the Indian security forces had responded swiftly to ’26/11 Mumbai attack’, but it exposed three significant cracks in India’s maritime security calculus, the porous nature of India’s coastline;
the inadequate surveillance of the maritime domain; and the lack of inter-agency coordination. Post the 26/11 attacks, the Indian government specially, Indian Navy undertook a number of proactive measures to restructure coastal security and push the defensive perimeter further away from the coast into the seas. One of the
most significant achievements has been the integration of all maritime stakeholders, including several State and Central agencies into the new coastal security mechanism. Indian Navy has established four Joint Operations Centres (JOC) at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair. As a result, there is good coordination, synergy and understanding between all agencies. Navy, Coast Guard and State Police teams have visited coastal villagesand fishermen have been made aware of possible threats from the sea and their important role towards strengthening coastal security. This has paid rich dividends in last few years as there have been many incidents, reported by them, leading to successful interceptions. In order to periodically review the readiness of the security agencies and the state administrations in thwarting threats from inimical elements, the Indian Navy has taken the lead in conducting coastal security exercises in every coastal states and in the Island territories in conjunction with the Coast Guard, Marine Police, Customs, and Immigration and Port Authorities etc. As a result of these exercises and drills, there has been a significant improvement in the coordination between all the agencies.