Gurgaon: Six years after the Mumbai terror attack, the state of the art Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) for coastal security was inaugurated here on Sunday by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who described it as "bold initiative" and a reply to 26/11.
Set up to provide coastal security and to avert Mumbai 26/11 terror attack-like incidents, the IMAC is a nodal centre of the National Command Control Communications and Intelligence Network (NC3I Network).
Parrikar was candid to admit that the surveillance network has still some gaps which needed to be plugged and cited the example of non-availability of proper radar coverage between Mangalore and Goa and Goa and Ratnagiri.
Explaining this, he said that over 30 years ago, Goa was considered as a landing point for smugglers and now Bhatkal is considered as one.
"Being from that place, I know that smuggling activity and of course, you know some terror export has happened from that area. Of course I don't want to put a tag on it, definitely there are some activities which need close monitoring," he said.
Parrikar said that though there is a radar link to Bhatkal also, it needs to be put properly because Managlore- Goa is about 350 kms distance.
"So for almost 350 kms, there is no radar point. Similarly, Goa-Ratnagiri, there are no radar points. They (Navay and Coast Guard) are working on small small gaps," he said.
IMAC is a joint initiative of Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Bharat Electronics Ltd to improve coastal surveillance.
Describing it as "a bold initiative" and "a reply of this great nation to the Mumbai attack", Parrikar said this is an enormous task considering the fact that there are about two to three lakh fishing boats operating in our coast lines and the active cooperation of the state governments is required to achieve 100 per cent success.
He also called for a change in mindset to correlate the data that would be available through the massive surveillance network to ensure "zero tolerance to error".
Parrikar said that besides coastal security, the country has to protect its interests in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Parrikar said some of our neighbors are trying to get
their navies in the Indian Ocean and Indian Navy must be watchful of their activities.
"We do not want to be offensive but we must be strong enough to deter our enemies from casting an evil eye upon us," he said.
The NC3I network links 51 Naval and Coast Guard stations, located along the coast and on island territories.
The network provides these stations coastal surveillance information obtained from various sensors such as the coastal radar chain of the Indian Coast Guard and automatic tracking systems as well as electro-optical cameras.
The network rides on dedicated terrestrial data circuits, as well as, satellite communication, which helps the stations in remote locations to be networked.
The IMAC is the centre where data from various sensors and databases is aggregated, correlated and then disseminated to various stations for enhanced awareness.
The software on which the coastal surveillance will be carried out incorporates hi-tech features like data fusion, correlation and decision support features thus facilitating better decision making.
The entire NC3I Network has been integrated by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore. The project was sanctioned in March, 2012 and is presently fully functional.
The IMAC construction began in October, 2012 and was completed in January this year.
The NC3I network and IMAC are also linked with the ambitious National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) project.
In the NMDA project, the NC3I network will function as the communication backbone and the IMAC will continue to be the nodal centre but will be rechristened as the NMDA Centre.
The Naval Chief Admiral R K Dhowan in his opening address said this project will go a long way in beefing up the maritime surveillance, thereby, enhancing the National Maritime Domain Awareness Project.
Amongst others, the function was attended by the Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Defence Secretary K Mathur and CMD Bharat Electronics Limited S K Sharma.