Antony clears several proposals to augment coastal security

A K AntonyNew Delhi, Dec 20 : Defence Minister AK Antony today asked the Coast Guard to lease or hire ships from the global market in the quickest possible time to meet shortages and augment the coastal security.

The Defence Minister reviewed in detail all aspects relating to coastal security at a high-level meeting here attended by Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Director General of Coast Guard Vice Admiral Anil Chopra and Director General Acquisition SK Sharma.

Approval has been accorded for global acquisition of cutting-edge equipment and interceptor boats on a fast-track basis, a high-ranking official in the Defence Ministry said.

The meeting also decided to set up nine additional Coast Guard Stations and a proposal for the same will be sent for Cabinet approval at the earliest.

"The deployment of Coast Guard assets to protect vulnerable areas in the context of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai was discussed. It was decided to deploy additional ships and aircraft in these areas," a high-ranking official in the Defence Ministry said.

In another major decision, Antony asked the Coast Guard to coordinate with State Governments for electronic identification of all vessels entering Indian Waters.

The meeting also gave clearance for radar coverage of the entire coastline and a scheme for the same will soon be worked out in consultation with the Ministry of Shipping, the official said.

Antony directed the Coast Guard to coordinate with the Indian Navy and intelligence agencies for sharing of information.

Earlier, after a series of meetings over the last two days with the three Service Chiefs, Defence Secretary and other officials, Antony has asked his Ministry to expedite the purchase of critical equipment for the armed forces. (ANI)