New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony today asked the Coast Guard to develop the fishing community living along the sea boards of the country as its "eyes and ears" for gathering intelligence for maritime security.
"The Defence Minister said role of fishing community is vital in strengthening coastal security mechanism and community interaction programmes should be given impetus to sensitise them about security and develop them as the eyes and ears for intelligence gathering," the Coast Guard said in a release.
The Defence Minister was at the Coast Guard headquarters here to inaugurate the 31st Coast Guard Commanders` Conference.
After the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, the Government has been stressing on involving all stakeholders in the maritime domain for preventing any such attacks in the future.
Speaking at the conference, Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan said, "The Coast Guard aims to achieve a force level of 150 surface platforms by 2018."
He said six Coast Guard stations at Pipavav, Nizampatnam, Gopalpur, Frazerganj, Mayabunder and Kamorta are slated to be established by March 2013.
"One Dornier aircraft squadron has been established at Porbandar since the last Commanders` Conference and establishment of two air stations, five air enclaves and four Dornier squadrons has also been prioritized," he said.
The Coast Guard chief also highlighted the setting up of the Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala and said, "it will help in enhancing the electronic surveillance capability of the force."