Even as the central government seeks to develop a string of ports around the country’s coastline while reaching out to the government of maritime states as a part of its ‘Sagarmala Project’, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) continues with its acquisition initiatives to strengthen its existing fleet. While commissioning the Indian Coast Guard Ship Anmol, West Bengal Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi spoke about how the role of the coast guard “is becoming more crucial day by day because of the strategic developments in China” and the adjacent countries.
“With the upcoming Sagarmala project, the responsibility of the service towards safeguarding coastal frontiers will become pivotal in the coming years,” said Tripathi.
At present, the ICG fleet has 116 surface platforms and 62 air assets. With these new acquisition initiatives, the organisation is on course to achieve 150 surface platforms and 100 air assets by 2018.
“India’s coast guard at present is the fourth largest in the world, after the USA, Japan and South Korea. With these acquisitions, we are looking to become a global leader,” said Inspector General K R Nautiyal, Commander, Coast Guard Region (North-East).
The ICGS Anmol is the 13th in the series of 20 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPV) that are being designed and built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd. The 50-metre-long vessel can clock the speed of over 35 knots and has the endurance of 1500 NM with the economical speed of 13KTS, while also being equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry, advanced navigational and communication equipment and 40/60 Bofors anti-aircraft gun as the main armament.
“This will aid us greatly in surveillance efforts in West Bengal and Odisha. Since ancient times, the coastlines of the two states have been of great maritime interest,” Nautiyal added.
The vessel belongs to the Aadesh-Class FPV series of 20 patrol boats being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited and is able to operate in shallow waters and offer higher speed and better maneuverability than conventional vessels. The primary role of the vessel include fisheries protection and monitoring, patrol within exclusive economic zone, coastal patrol, anti-smuggling, anti piracy and search and rescue operations. The vessels have a secondary role of providing communication link and escorting convoys during hostilities and war time.
Coast Guard officials said the new vessel will be based in Haldia and enhance their operational capabilities to undertake multifarious tasks. Currently, Coast Guard district headquarter Haldia has a compliment of two in-shore patrol vessels, four hovercrafts and one interceptor boat.