Indian Coast Guard is celebrating its 46th Raising Day on 01 Feb 2022. From a modest beginning with just 07 surface platforms in 1978, ICG has grown into a formidable force with 158 ships and 70 aircraft in its inventory and is likely to achieve targeted force levels of 200 surface platforms and 80 aircraft by 2025.
As the fourth largest Coast Guard in the world, Indian Coast Guard has played a significant role in securing the Indian Coasts and enforcing regulations in the Maritime Zones of India. To its credit, the force has saved 1226 lives at sea in last one year and 11082 lives since inception which translates into saving of one precious life at sea every second day. In addition, ICG also saved 339 people in last one year and overall 12934 personnel have been rescued till date by the service during various ‘Aid to Civil Authority’ operations viz., Assistance provided to civil authorities during Floods, Cyclones and other natural calamities; most recently during the recent floods in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic, the Indian Coast Guard has maintained 24×7 vigil in the Exclusive Economic Zone, by deploying about 50 ships and 12 aircraft daily. This is to fulfill the expectation of the nations from one ocean to be a maritime facilitator for trade and commerce through blue economy and hence. I envision future ICG to be Omnipresent by showing presence all over as यत्र, तत्र, सर्वत्र. One of the primary duties of the Indian Coast Guard is the prevention of smuggling through maritime routes in our Area of Responsibility. The hawk-eye vigil of the ICG ensured seizure of drugs and contraband worth more than Rs. 11924 Crore since the inception of which more than Rs. 3950 Crore worth drugs and contrabands were seized in the last year alone. In addition, ICG till date has also apprehended more than 13354 crew and over 1568 boats involved in illegal activities in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A total of 40 foreign crew with 07 boats were apprehended in 2021, thereby asserting maritime security and economic sovereignty of our country in our waters. ICG is also collaborating with littoral countries to combat transnational maritime crimes and enhance maritime safety in its area of responsibility and in the Indian Ocean Region.
In keeping with the nation’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ & ‘Neighbourhood First’, ICG has nurtured professional relationships across oceans and established meaningful ties with countries in the Indian Ocean Region for Ocean Peacekeeping. ICG has successfully averted major ecological disasters and emerged as the “First Responder” in the region by undertaking major firefighting & pollution response operation off Sri Lanka coast, the most recent being onboard Chemical carrier MV X-Press Pearl, namely Sagar Aaraksha-II. Such actions of ICG have garnered immense goodwill and trust of our littoral friends, as also reflected India’s international stature as a strong maritime nation.
To harmonise the Maritime & Civil Aviation Search & Rescue mechanism, ICG conducted National Maritime Search & Rescue Board meeting to validate the existing Maritime SAR mechanism. Identifying Coastal Security as a key focus area, the service is also working in close coordination with Central and State agencies to put in place a robust Coastal Security mechanism. ICG reach was amply demonstrated during the flag hoisting on 100 inhabited & un-inhabited far flung islands as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration on 15 Aug 21.
Indian Coast Guard has been a pioneer in inducting indigenous assets which has enabled it to remain operationally active and responsive throughout the year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Coast Guard has added 05 new generation ships and 08 Advanced Light Helicopters to its fleet in last one year, which are fine examples of GoI vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India‘.
Indian Coast Guard is maintaining effective surveillance in EEZ by deploying of assets 24×7. In addition, continuous close coast surveillance is being maintained through Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) consisting of Radars, Electro-optic sensors, etc have been set up at 46 sites along the coast. To ensure near gap-free surveillance of the entire coastline, additional 38 Radar Stations are being setup and integrated in Phase-II of CSN project. ICG has drawn global attention by maintaining exceptional Operational tempo and garnered international acclaim for its professionalism and string of successful operations.
The President of India, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Defence Minister congratulated the Indian Coast Guard on completion of 45 glorious years of yeoman service to the nation and appreciated the remarkable role played by the service in pursuit of the nation’s interests in the Maritime Zones.