PM proposed five basic principles for enhancing maritime security during an open debate at UNSC. Appointment of India’s first National Maritime Security Coordinator (NMSC) reflects seriousness to address maritime security challenges. The NMSC under the National Security Advisor (NSA) will go a long way in streamlining maritime governance and enable development of the maritime sector.
Five-point framework for maritime security
- Removal of barriers to maritime trade.
- Resolution of maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law.
- Jointly tackling maritime threats from non-state actors and natural disasters.
- Conservation of maritime environment & marine resources.
- Responsible maritime connectivity.
Significance of Maritime security to India
- Border security: India has a coastline of over 7,000 km which underlines the importance of maritime security for India’s national security.
- International trade: India’s exports and imports have remained mostly across the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean. Therefore, securing Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs), especially choke points like Strait of Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandeb and Strait of Malacca, have been an important issue for India.
Growing Chinese presence in IOR: China is growing its footprint and influence in Indian Ocean region. China has been developing its capabilities in Indian Ocean Region under String of Pearl strategy.
- Marine resources: Indian Ocean is rich in fisheries and mineral resources like oil & natural gas and Poly metallic nodules (PMN).
- Maritime Climate: Impact of global warming and climate change on Indian Ocean will induce significant changes in Indian monsoon pattern and cyclones.
- Terrorism: During Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 terrorists entered Mumbai using maritime route. There are concerns of piracy in Western Indian Ocean originating from Somalia.
Challenges in Maritime border Security
- Fragmented Approach: Overlapping jurisdiction & lack of unity of command in maritime border guarding.
- Responsibility for patrolling & surveillance of coastal areas up to 12 nautical to State Coastal Police under nine coastal states, fragments maritime border guarding.
- Overlap of Jurisdiction between Indian Navy and state forces.
- Unlike Border guarding forces falling under Ministry of Home affairs, Indian Navy and Indian coast guards fall under Ministry of Defence. Thus, coordination between state and central agencies becomes difficult.
- Indian navy and Indian coast guards (ICG) fall under different department within the Ministry of Defence.
- Ensuring security of maritime borders is not primary duty of ICG, which deals with protection of maritime and other national interest in the Territorial waters.
- Overlapping of functions between Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guards. ICG is responsible for security of Territorial Sea, while Indian Navy is responsible for Security of both Territorial Sea as well as EEZ.
Steps taken FOR Maritime security
- Creation of unified maritime command headed by Indian Navy ensuring integrated maritime security.
- National Maritime Security Coordinator (NMSC) has been appointed under National Security Advisor.
Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN)
a. 46 radars of Chain of Static Sensors have been established for real-time coastal monitoring and surveillance by the Indian Coast Guard.
b. Coastal Surveillance System through Chain of Coastal High-Definition Surface Warning Radars installed in 2011.
c. Deployment of ships and aircrafts for surveillance on daily basis for maritime law enforcement, coastal security, pollution response, search & rescue etc.