Govt may appoint National Maritime Security Coordinator to handle issues

PTI, Jul 13, 2021, 6:18 PM IST

New Delhi: The government is likely to appoint a National Maritime Security Coordinator to ensure cohesive and quicker decision making among multiple organisations that are handling maritime issues in India, officials said on Tuesday.

China’s approach to the Indo-Pacific region during the last couple of years has become a major talking point among leading global powers.

India and China have also been locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since May last year.

Officials said a retired or serving Vice-Admiral of the Indian Navy may be selected for the position of the maritime security coordinator.

The security coordinator will head the National Maritime Commission (NMC) – which will coordinate with all organisations such as the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), the ports and the shipping ministries – and is likely to report to the National Security Advisor (NSA), they said.

The Kargil Review Committee, which was formed after the 1999 Kargil War, had recommended the formation of an apex body that would manage the country’s maritime affairs by enforcing linkages between the Indian Navy, the ICG and other ministries and departments of the State governments or the Central government.

The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical for India’s strategic interests. China has been making concerted efforts to increase its presence in the region.

The Indian Navy has been ramping up its presence in the Indian Ocean to keep a hawk-eyed vigil over Chinese activities.

It established the Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in 2018 to effectively keep track of the shipping traffic as well as other critical developments in the region under a collaborative framework with like-minded countries.

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