By Priti Naik
The government appointed Vice Admiral (retd) G Ashok Kumar as India’s first national maritime security coordinator to strengthen India’s maritime security. This comes as a significant move mandating to ensure solidarity among various key stakeholders with an overall objective to secure the country.
The national maritime security coordinator (NMSC) works in coordination with the National Security Council Secretariat headed by NSA Ajit Doval. The NMSC is tasked to coordinate among the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard, security agencies involved in coastal and maritime security and 13 coastal states and Union Territories.
Meanwhile, the vice Admiral Kumar retired from service in July last year. The government has been focusing on ensuring cooperation among all maritime stakeholders to enhance India’s maritime security and surveillance in view of multiple security challenges. The government has taken a string of security measures ever since the Mumbai terror attack took place. These security measures include putting in place layered maritime surveillance to bolster coastal and maritime security. India has a coastline of around 7,500-kilometres.
On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai through the sea, arriving by boat from Karachi, and went on the rampage, carrying out coordinated attacks on the main Chattrapati Shivaji railway terminus, the iconic Taj Mahal hotel, the Trident hotel, and a Jewish centre all in the heart of the Mumbai’s downtown area. Over 166 people, including foreigners, were killed in the nearly 60-hour assault that sent shock waves across the country and even brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.