Saturday, August 06, 2011

Enfeebled Coastguard Gets Rockbottom Report

Yesterday, India's national audit agency, the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) placed reports in Parliament, the thickest among them detailing massive graft in the administration of the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Buried under that hot political story -- and only touched upon briefly by some media -- was the auditor's report on the Indian Coast Guard (ICG). The report was released at a particularly mortifying time for the ICG -- less than a week before, it was in the spotlight (along with the navy and Mumbai police) for being ostensibly clueless about the 1,000-ton abandoned merchant vessel MT Pavit that drifted across the Arabian Sea and ran aground on one of Mumbai's most popular beaches. The ship had sliced through layer after layer of India's maritime security tiers. The audit report is thundering indictment of red tape, turf battles, faulty procurement, government apathy and massively misdirected expenditure that has resulted in none of the heightened preparedness and minimised reaction time that the 26/11 attack had necessitated. Another day. Another wake up call. Pity.


12 comments :

Sambit said...

Indian coast guard needs more of homegrown technologies. The corruption may have gone deep inside it. The chaps there have not been able to save us from 26/11 neither it can if there is any repeat. too weak too feeble....wake up coast guard -- have some pride in yourself

Anonymous said...

There is too much population in India, we need less not more people. So if some people are killed then it good only. We can always get more people from Italy to fill the void.

Mr. Ra said...

What happens with just 20% of the required patrolling ships, boats, aircraft and other equipment.

Rijoy said...

This is India. We must get used to it. The same govts elected by votes of common man, now face the consequence. Sigh!

Why the govt should bother, the have SPG, NSG, X-Y-Z category security.


Forgot the corrupted, lazy and unwilling govt, the Coast guard or Navy did not learn anything from 26/11.


India and Indians are funny.

Deepak Datta said...

The union home minister  P. Chidambaram (PC) yesterday claimed that this was not an intelligence failure due to the fact that the 1000 ton Panamanian flagged, but Dubai based company managed, MT Pavit tanker ship "was reported to have been abandoned and later sunk." Are you kidding me? It is an intelligence failure of mammoth proportions and implications. 

Post 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, what were the various "tiers" of security agencies doing in this case. The primary failure occurred at the Navy level, responsible to protect our maritime boundaries and vital sea lanes, then comes the responsibility of the Indian Coast Guard, and finally the Mumbai Coastal police in the final 12 Km from the shore. The later two are supposed to be working closely with the navy to complete their respective roles in the security tiers.

Indian Navy with a strength of 58,000 personnel, currently deploys 178 ships and vessels ( another 36 under construction), and 286 aircraft.   Indian Navy has to monitor 7500 km of coastline,    Marine reconnaissance is provided by fixed wing 8 Tupolev Tu-142s, 3 Ilyushin Il-38SDs, Dornier Do 228s and also by HAL Chetak and Dhruv helicopters.

Are these goodies only good for parades?

Deepak Datta said...

In addition, Indian Navy currently deploys 30 state of the art UAVs like 12 Heron and 18 Searcher II from Israel. The Searcher is a third-generation UAV. Heron is the bigger version of Searcher MKII and has a wingspan of about 16 metres. The Searcher carries a modern and sophisticated electro-optic cameras and a communication intelligence payload. Heron is additionally equipped with a maritime patrol radar. 

Both the UAVs have long endurance capabilities, can operate before and after sunset and beam real time live pictures of maritime targets with the Western coastline being the most important due to it's proximity to Pakistan, the epicenter of terrorism in the world. 

In January 2011, with the commissioning of INAS 343 squadron based in Porbandar, Gujrat, which has four Israeli-made Heron and five Searcher MKII UAVs, it was supposed to "take the maritime reconnaissance in this region to a new level."  This UAV squadron was going to help the Navy patrol the northern portion of Arabian Sea, and the sea lanes from the Gulf - exactly the route taken by this "drifting" ship.

Post 26/11, the navy was designated as the overall authority responsible for maritime security, including coastal security. The area of operation comes under navy's Vice Admiral D K Joshi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command based in Mumbai. 

ICG , with a strength of 5440 personnel, reports directly to the Ministry of Defence. Its current director general is Vice-Admiral Anil Chopra based in Mumbai.   
ICY deploys 96 Ships and vessels and 28 Aircraft  - 24 Maritime Surveillance
Search & Rescue HAL built twin turboprop Dornier Do 228-101 variant and 18 Chetak  & 4 Dhruv helicopters.   

The Mumbai coastal police was again tasked by the NCP's home minister R.R. Patil of the 26/11 fame (Bare Bare Shehro Mein Aise Choti Choti Bate Toh Hoti Rehti Hain) with monitoring the dance bar girls and enforcing the new 25 years and above drinking age law. Unsubstantiated rumors are that he said: 

"Bareh Bareh Samunder Se,  Aise Choti Moti Kishti Toh Ati Rehti Hai.          Gabhrahne Ki Koi Baat Nahi."

So, once again, he refuses to take ANY blame for the failure of his department. So long as NCP leader Sharad Pawar continues to protect him, he feels he is immune to any adverse action against him. Prime example of governance without accountability.

According to today's TOI report, "The coastguard procured 28 speedboats after 26/11, but there has been a dearth of manpower has ensured that most of these are lying unused. Also, the diesel supplied for these boats is grossly inadequate. "These boats are used only for an hour everyday. There is no patrolling done for the other 23 hours because they don't have enough diesel." How more pathetic can this get? 
  
According to the just released Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, the ICG “possesses only 65 % of the required force level in terms of ships and vessels, and only 48% in terms of aviation assets.  CAG further recommended that the government should come up with a 15-year-perspective plan for the ICG and ensure that its fleet was augmented. "There is an immediate need for ICG to evolve norms for patrolling in maritime, coastal zones, based on available resources," the CAG said. 

 The CAG recommended that the government should come up with a 15-year-perspective plan for the ICG and ensure that its fleet was augmented. "There is an immediate need for ICG to evolve norms for patrolling in maritime, coastal zones, based on available resources," the CAG said.

CAG report makes it clear that ICG is not even sharing data with the navy to create a complete maritime picture. In all this mess AK Anthony refuses to take any responsibility in his failure of leadership. Amazing!
26/11 he passed the buck to CM Deshmukh who had no role to play in the failure to prevent the terrorist attack, and now this!

Deepak Datta said...

Why is there only one hour worth of diesel allocated for each of the coastal patrol boats? There have been reports that even that people use for personal joyrides?

Can some heads in Navy, coast guard, and Coastal Police for this colossal failure.

All these ships are supposed to be tracked via satellite tracking and then by surface and air assets.

Shame on chalet hai attitude. That is exactly what brought us 26/11.

Deepak Datta said...

Why is there only one hour worth of diesel allocated for each of the coastal patrol boats? There have been reports that even that people use for personal joyrides?

Can some heads in Navy, coast guard, and Coastal Police roll for this colossal failure.

All these ships are supposed to be tracked via satellite tracking and then by surface and air assets.

Shame on chalta hai attitude. That is exactly what brought us 26/11. May be UPA can use Anthony in AICC, but he surely incompetent to be the defence minister. He simply is lost, he cannot comprehend the scale of responsibility that ministry brings.

His Mirage 2000 upgrade deal, refusal to buy badly needed artillery and mechanized forces necessary in a NBC scenario. His acquiesce in refusing to sign CISMOA and BECA enabling agreements necessary for the world's most advanced defence technologies that India needs to leapfrog to become a credible power.

India has no designs on neighbours in terms of expansion etc. However, she has to create a maintain a credible deterrent for others not to have adverse plans against her nation integrity and security.

ivan said...

The Terrorist might use ships like MT Pavit, MV Wisdom etc...to reach Indian shores by planting nuclear device and one if it reach the shore they can trigger it also....they must have learnt that neither Navy and coast Guard are able to stop such big ship reaching Mumbai....They might try to smuggle nuclear device part thru ship so that their own agent over her might assemble it..... I feel Indian Navy. Army, Air Force, IB, Police and RAW should carry out audit and survey to ensure this is safe......I feel some message are passed through those ships.

Deepak Datta said...

@ Anonymous 11:21

Did you read your own comment? Is that all you could offer? It is never too late to become literate. Every day, every minute, every act of your life must have some meaning for you or others. This is a grave national security lapse matter, not to be trivialized by comments like yours.

Because of such comments, people like you hide behind "Anonymous."

Deepak Datta said...

@ Rijoy

The problem lies with us if we keep reelecting inept politicians. We must use our power of the vote and affect changes in policies and governance.

Hoever, it must be done within the ambit of the constitution. Anna Hazare highlighted some very important points, but now his team is trying to usurp the function of the elected parliament. That is wrong, and that is where I draw the line.

thelazyreader said...

The sad thing is we have all the resources to build adequate ships and boats for our coast guard but we won't use it because of the sheer stupidity and idelogical blindness of our government.

We have dozens of private shipyards that are more than capable of supplying enough patrol vessels, speedboats etc. But AK Antony, being the hardcore Communist he is, makes sure the bulk of Navy orders go only to the five PSU shipyards. And so our capacity remains unutilized and our fleet small.