Union home minister Rajnath Singh has initiated a concerted effort to provide the country’s coastline a foolproof security grid and has directed two key divisions in the ministry to prepare an elabora
Union home minister Rajnath Singh has initiated a concerted effort to provide the country’s coastline a foolproof security grid and has directed two key divisions in the ministry to prepare an elaborate feasibility report on the setting up of a Central Marine Police Force which would be similar to the border guarding forces like the BSF, ITBP and the SSB. Though the initial suggestion for such a Central para-military forces was mooted by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis at a security meeting of coastal states in Mumbai a few days ago, the home minister who endorsed the idea immediately initiated work on the plan on his return to the capital.
Mr Singh has asked the ministry’s top brass to finalise a plan as to what shape the proposed Central force will have in terms of its operational area, the central command structure and other modalities related to providing security cover for the 7,516-km-long coastline. Sources said the home minister is keen that the Central Marine Police Force should be made the single nodal agency in tackling the task of protecting all vital installations, port, seas and the coasts.
Once the ministry finalises its plans for raising this new special force, the proposal would be taken to the Cabinet committee of security for further deliberations.
“Senior officials in the ministry have already started working on the blueprint. Though the internal security division is doing most of the work in this, it is being assisted by the border management division also. Some of the issues that need to be examined are what would be the role of Coast Guard once the Marine Force becomes operational and should the new unit be given legal powers to investigate cases also or this should be left to the coastal police stations as law and order is a state subject,” a senior home ministry official said.
With work on preparing the feasibility report for the Marine Force on in full swing, the home minister has asked his officials to recommend how the new outfit can be made tech savvy for surveillance and counter-terror operations.
Work on an elaborate Coastal Security Plan had started after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks where militants had used the sea route to gain access to the financial capital.
Though some measures been taken in securing the coastline, the home minister is now keen on having a specialised unit.
Sources said the ministry will also take inputs from Navy and Coast Guard as to how an effective Marine Force can be raised. Former BSF chief Ajay Raj Sharma supported the move, saying there was an urgent need for a specialised force to man India’s vast coastline.