New Delhi: Around 233 foreign boats and 1,686 foreign crew were apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard between 2011-15, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Friday.
"Instances of illegal fishing in Indian waters by foreign fishermen come to the notice of government from time to time. A total of 233 foreign boats and 1686 foreign crew were apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard during the period 2011-15," Parrikar said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
This comes months after a suspected terror boat was apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard. The boat was set afire by its occupants according to the Coast Guard, which resulted in a blast.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Parrikar said vessels and aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy are deployed on a 24x7 basis for surveillance in the maritime zones of India "to protect national interests including for preventing infiltration and poaching by foreign fishing boats".
"Indian Coast Guard conducts community interaction programmes with the fishermen to sensitize them on prevailing security situations and develop them to be the "eyes and ears" for intelligence gathering," Parrikar said.
The defence minister added that static radars have been installed along the Indian coastline for electronic surveillance of vessel traffic. The Coast Guard has also been conducting regular exercises bi-annually on coastal security in coordination with other central and state government agencies like the marine police, customs, CISF, fisheries department, port authorities, state police and Indian Navy.
"Strengthening of maritime security and coastal security is a multi-stakeholder activity and necessary measures are implemented by various agencies," the defence minister said.
To ensure coordination, regular meetings of the National Committee on Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS) are held in which all stakeholders participate," he added.