The Narendra Modi government is striving to make India's coastal security impenetrable using technology and by coordinating with all the states and the other stakeholders, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.
He said this at a meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which reviewed various aspects of the country's coastal security.
Lack of surveillance along the coastline had allowed 10 terrorists to sail to Mumbai from Pakistan and carry out the worst ever terrorist attack in India on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
Since then, the Centre has overhauled the coastal security apparatus by establishing a robust multi-layered surveillance system along the country's 7,517-km-long coastline.
"Coastal security was discussed at a meeting of the Consultative Committee held today. All the members gave their suggestions to strengthen it further. Under the leadership of PM @narendramodi ji, we are striving to make coastal security impenetrable using technology and by coordinating with all the states and the other stakeholders," Shah said in a tweet in Hindi.
India has a vast coastline of 7,516 km touching 13 states and Union territories. The country also has around 1,197 islands.
The coastline runs through Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal and the Union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
India has over a dozen major seaports, including the Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Coachin, V O Chidambaranar, Chennai, Kamarajar, Paradip, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata-Haldia ports, besides 227 non-major seaports and single-point moorings.
According to official statistics, around 95 per cent of the country's trading by volume and 70 per cent by value is done through maritime transport.
Security of the coastline is vital for the country as there are nuclear stations, missile-launching centres, defence and oil installations along the coast.
India's long coastline presents a variety of security concerns that include possible landing of arms and explosives at isolated spots on the coast, infiltration of anti-national elements, use of the sea and offshore islands for criminal activities and smuggling of consumer and intermediate goods through the sea route, an official said.
The absence of physical barriers on the coast and the presence of vital industrial and defence installations near the coast also enhance their vulnerability to illegal cross-border activities, the official added.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are regularly issued to the coastal states and Union territories for better coordination among the stakeholders.