Defence Minister A K Antony on Saturday inaugurated the Maharashtra cluster of the Chain of Static Sensors Project aimed at improving real-time coastal surveillance. Inaugurating the cluster at the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Regional Headquarters (West) in Worli,Antony said,I can tell you confidently that Indian coasts are much safer (now).
Antony said guarding Indias 7,500-km coastline is a herculean and challenging task but we have to face it successfully.We have taken special care of Mumbai and Gujarat.
ICG said the project was put on fast track post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The chain of static sensors project was part of the recommendations made by a GoM on national security set up post the Kargil war. The Rs 601.75-crore project comprises 46 radar stations along the coastline with 11 remote operating stations,four regional operating centres at Gandhi Nagar,Mumbai,Chennai and Port Blair and a Control Centre in Delhi.
Under the project gadgets like radar,VHF radio,electro-optic sensors,Automatic Identification System (AIS),and MET sensors are being set up on either lighthouses or masts (on Director General of Lighthouses and Lightships land) at 36 locations on the mainland,six locations in Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands and four in the Andaman and Nicobar.
In Maharashtra,the sensors are operational with radar stations installed at Tarapore,Khanoji Angre,Korlai Fort,Tolkeshwar and Devgarh.
IGC officers demonstrated how,on making contact with a vessel,the AIS indicates,among other data,ship name and location.
Phase I of the project aims at covering upto 25 nautical miles off the coastline around areas of high sensitivity and traffic density. The mainland part of the project will be completed by year-end,and on the islands the first quarter of next year,Antony said.
Thirty-eight static sensors will be set up in the second phase.
Pointing out that 26/11 terrorists had entered Mumbai in a fishing boat,Antony said the role of the fishermen community in coastal surveillance is important and their maximum participation in coastal security must be ensured.
Antony,however,said,With the coastal surveillance network coming up along the coast,any interpretation that the coastline would be completely secure would be a misnomer,until such time complete physical verification takes place.
ICG officers explained that cameras can track a ship upto 10 nautical miles in fair weather but to know activities on the ship,physical verification is needed.