Comments of SAPI on the article published in Trak.in titled ‘This Indian Company Has Made Indian Coasts Impenetrable With NavIC Based Satellite Surveillance System’
Coastal Security is an integral part of Comprehensive Border Management Strategy. Fishermen are the weakest link in the entire Coastal Security architecture. Its due to very long and widely dispersed Coastline of 7500 km with 1382 big and small islands involving 13 States and 3 UTs. Besides guarding Territorial waters of 12 nm and contiguous zone beyond it. Then there is International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) which is adjoining neighbouring countries. All this makes the task of Coastal Security complicated.
There has been requirement felt all throughout to have some transponder which is satellite controlled for ensuring connectivity over the horizon and track the vessels. For large vessels (above 20 mt.) there is already provision as per International Conventions to have tracking system on board, however issue is with sub 20 mt. boats. Various countries have adopted various approaches to monitor smaller boats. Govt has been trying to evolve an appropriate design of Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder which is effective in tracking all types of boats near coast as well as high seas. Several attempts have been made to come up with appropriate transponder design but have not been so successful.
I would like to mention about another usage of such Transponder. It can used in warning boats while it is approaching IMBL as crossing same may put the fishermen at risk of being arrested by other country’s security for unauthorised entry in their territorial waters. These incidents cause diplomatic crisis and give rise to avoidable issues at national level.
The Navic satellite based VTS is a welcome step in this direction. As TN has very close IMBL with Srilanka the incidents of fishermen crossing to other side are frequent (sometimes causing diplomatic crisis). Hope VTS is an effective way to control the movement.
Dept of Border Management under MHA is tasked with the mandate of Coastal Security. MHA operates Coastal Security Scheme (CSS) to support various states. The Phase 1 of the scheme is long over while Phase 2 is also on verge of completion. The Phase 3 is yet to take off. In CSS I &II there has been provision to extend targeted support to states for Capital ( infrastructure, boats, equipments etc) as well as recurring expenditure ( fuel, training etc). Besides CSS is a platform for interaction of all the stakeholders which promotes synergy as all of them meet periodically in review. As the article highlights that there is not much support forthcoming for VTS from the Coastal states I feel that CSS can consider VTS feasibility etc and if acceptable within its guidelines it can support this innovation.
Created By Akshay Kharade At Widespread Solutions