A meeting to review all aspects of security along India’s over 7,500 km coastline, dotted with 12 major ports and 187 intermediate ports, will be held on June 16 at Mumbai in Maharashtra.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will chair the meeting to be attended by the chief ministers of all coastal states and representatives of union territories.
Also, the central security agencies have said that South Asia could soon emerge in the “eye of the storm for terror attack” and the next line of attack could be through maritime route.
“The meeting on June 16 will review the security threats on India’s coastline. The gaps in intelligence gathering and the issue of foolproof maritime security will be addressed,” a central intelligence source told IANS here.
The government is open to suggestions from the states and could even explore framing new legislation aimed at “strengthening the existing laws that will empower the government to deal with the scourge of terrorism effectively”.
“There are some grey areas and gaps. Intelligence gathering requires human and technical resources. All these need a relook and updating from time to time,” the source said.
The decision to hold the high-level meeting was taken after Rajnath Singh reviewed coastal security and related issues at a June 6 meeting here with officials of various security agencies and departments concerned.
The government acknowledges that “lapses” led to the unprecedented 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, the source said, adding that it is thus keen to address them effectively.
Apart from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, senior officials of the union territories of Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are likely to attend the meeting.
Several steps have been initiated over the years after the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 for enhanced vigil on the eastern and western coasts, the source said.
The Coastal Security Scheme was formulated in 2005 and then updated in 2011 to strengthen coastal security in consultation with the Coast Guard and coastal states and union territories concerned.
It was approved by the central government for implementation in all the nine coastal states and four union territories for five years from 2011.
Altogether, 131 Coastal Police Stations were approved under the Coastal Security Scheme to be equipped with 180 boats, 131 four-wheelers and 242 motorcycles. A lump sum assistance of Rs 15 lakh per coastal police station were provided for equipment, computers and furniture.