Laying the Keel(1977-78)
Ever since the 1960’s, the Indian Navy had been requesting the Government of India for setting up an auxiliary service for Maritime Law Enforcement and undertaking “Safety and Protection” tasks in Indian waters. Deployment of sophisticated and high-value naval warships and assets was clearly not an optimal alternative for these tasks. In due course, this logic of the Navy was accepted by the Government, especially due to the fact that by the early 1970’s, three other important factors contributed to the rationale for the early institution of a ‘Coast Guard’ service.
Sea-borne smuggling across the seas was rampant and threatened the nation’s economy. The existing maritime agencies such as the Customs and the Fisheries Department did not have the capability to contain this large scale smuggling activity, and intercept illegeal vessels even within territorial waters. Against this backdrop, the ‘Nag Committee’ was setup in 1970, to examine the growing menace of smuggling. The committee recommended the need for a seperate marine force to deal with smuggling activities.
Interim Coast Guard formed on February 1, 1977
Seated (L to R)
Lt Cdr Dutt, Cmde Sarathy,
Vice Adm V. A. Kamath
Cdr Bhanot and Mr. Varadan
Standing (L to R) Mr. Sandhu, Mr. Jain, Mr. Pilai,
Mr. Malhotra and Mr. Sastri
In 1972, the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) awarded Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) to all coastal states. Thereafter, the Union of India, enacted the Maritime Zones of India Act 1976, to claim sovereign rights over the vast sea area of the Exclusive Economic Zone. In one stroke, India acquired 2.01 million sq kms of ocean for extensive exploitation of all living and non-living resources, and this vast area clearly needed to be policed.
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