In February this year, over four years after the attack by Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai, Maharashtra State Chief Secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia, speaking to media on the side lines of commissioning of Indian Coast Guard interceptor boat ICGS C-154, announced that Maharashtra is in the process of raising a full-fledged coastal police force. Banthia said that the state is developing four small ports mainly for shipping, but which will also have facilities allocated for the coastal police. He said that the landing points along the shore will also get a coastal police station. Following the Kargil 1999 war, a recommendation by the Group of Ministers to establish a coastal surveillance chain, was taken seriously only after the 26/11 terrorist attack. Out of the nine coastal states and four coastal union territories, Maharashtra, which has had mixed successes in implementing coastal security, now plans to raise an exclusive coastal force instead of one comprising deputationists from the existing police setup. Coast Guard’s notification to the state government in 2011, that at least 3000 special officers will be required to guard 720 Kms of Maharashtra’s coastline has finally been implemented.
Two months after 26/11, a technical seminar on internal security, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, with participants from Association of Police & Security Suppliers (APPSS) the sister trade association of the Defence Manufacturer’s Association (DMA), United Kingdom reflected on the deficiencies of modern systems among Indian internal security agencies.
During that Seminar, Shaun Hipgrave of UK’s Forensic Telecommunications, interacting with this writer expressed, “huge education in the field of telephone forensic measures was a major requirement in India”, where prior to 26/11, there was neither much knowledge nor consciousness about such equipment. In fact, shortly before the Mumbai attack, Hipgrave had met the late former head of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad, Mr Hemant Karkare, who was exploring the market for urgent requirements.
Out of the 46 radar stations based on lighthouses (36 on main land and 10 in islands) located on the East Coast, West Coast, Lakshadweep and Minicoy (L&M) and Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands, the progress is that barring 6 lighthouses in the L&M region where work is in progress, 40 have been fitted with radars. Each lighthouse site will be linked to the nearest Coast Guard station, known as Remote Operating Stations (ROS), through a communication link. The ROS will further be linked to the Regional Operating Centres (ROC) at Coast Guard Regional headquarters located in Mumbai, Gandhinagar, Chennai and Port Blair. All ROCs will be connected to Control Centre (CC) headquarters at New Delhi.
According to a white paper released at INDISEC 2010 jointly by ASSOCHAM and KPMG, strengthening homeland security in India would entail the following steps, some of which have already been initiated by the Government of India: