The government is all set to beef up coastal security by installing transponders for tracking small fishing vessels along the country’s coastline.
The project, being monitored by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), will ensure that no small fishing vessel goes undetected till it has reached close to India’s coastline.
The project — Automatic Identification System (proprietary) Transponders — will track small fishing vessels (below 20 metre) and up to a distance of 50 kms from the coastline. India has 7,517-km long coastline. Earlier this year, the Indian Coast Guard had blown up a boat off Porbandar coast on suspicion that terrorists were on board.
In another move, to give wings to ‘Make in India’ initiative, the MHA has come up with a new ‘National Security Clearance’ policy, which, besides ignoring petty offences committed by promoters and owners in giving security clearance to any company, will make it easier for “countries of concern” to open manufacturing units in India.
Under the new policy, 15 parameters have been laid down where inputs from security agencies will be sought. The MHA has asked Department of Telecommunications to set up infrastructure where products manufactured by foreign companies will be tested for any kind of “spyware or malware” and adequate firewall and precautions will be taken before they make it to the Indian market.
Since 65 per cent of telecommunication equipment being used in India comes from China, the MHA was mulling a separate policy for Chinese companies but after Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, it was decided to go ahead with the current policy as far as China is concerned but with “due diligence”. The MHA will have to decide on the status of security clearance to any company within 4-6 weeks, against earlier deadline of 16 weeks.
Though the policy had been in the works for a year now, it was expedited after security clearance was denied to Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV network, on the basis of adverse intelligence reports against its promoters and owners.
Keeping the Sun TV issue in mind, the MHA has laid threadbare the procedures to be followed while denying or giving security clearance to any company. The parameters would be: money laundering charges against the promoters, terrorist angle, financial fraud and scam, passport fraud, links with external intelligence agencies and conviction for serious crime like murder. “Petty offences will no longer be the basis to deny security clearance to any company. It will be given only on 15 parameters,” said an official.