Friday, November 6, 2009

India To Commission 4th Naval Command HQ

By vivek raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI - India will commission a Coast Guard station Nov. 4 at Karwar, India's state-of-the-art, integrated naval base on the western seaboard, as it continues to strengthen coastal security. Karwar, India's fourth naval command headquarters, will develop into one of the biggest such bases this side of the Suez.

The station is being established based on a security assessment undertaken by the government to boost maritime and coastal security, a Defence Ministry release says.

Fourteen more stations will be established to address the security gap along the coastline. The Karwar station will have two fast speedboats to undertake search and rescue, close coastal patrol, and to respond to emergency calls, the release says.

The Coast Guard is entrusted with guarding India's maritime interests, including protecting offshore assets such as oil rigs, platforms and terminals within India's maritime zones, providing protection to fishermen in distress, and taking preserving the maritime environment.

After the Nov. 26 terror attacks in Mumbai, India decided to beef up its Coast Guard. The government has allowed the Coast Guard to buy weaponry worth millions of dollars on a fast-track basis, including the purchase of an additional 30 helicopters, 20 fast interceptor boats, 10 patrol vessels and five offshore vessels.

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