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Coast Guard

The Coast Guard was formed within the Indian Navy on 1 February 1977 to respond to smuggling and poaching by foreign vessels, as well as to contribute to marine pollution control, performing the same border control functions for the Navy as the Border Security Force does for the Army. With a total manpower of around 5000, it has 42 ships, 13 aircrafts and 9 helicopters. It has three Regional Headquarters: Bombay, Madras and Port Blair, ten other stations which are called Coast Guard District Headquarters, along with stations at Okha, Vadinar, Tuticorin and Mandappam.

Emergence of the Coast Guard in India on 01 February 1977 as a new service was the result of an awareness that had been growing for some time in the Government for the requirement to enforce National Laws in the waters under national jurisdiction and ensure safety of life and property at sea. It was also considered desirable that these law enforcement responsibilities should be undertaken by a service suitably equipped and modelled on the Coast Guards of advanced nations like USA, UK etc leaving the Navy to exercise the fleet for its wartime role.

A committee was, therefore, constituted in Sep 1974 with Mr KF Rustamji as its chairman to study the problem of seaborne smuggling and the question of setting up a Coast Guard type of organization. This committee recommended the setting up of a Coast Guard Service patterned on the Navy for general superintendence and policing of our seas in peace time under administrative cover of the Ministry of Defence. The Maritime Zones of India Act was passed on 25 Aug 1976. Under this Act, India claimed 2.01 million sq km of sea area in which she has the exclusive rights for exploration and exploitation of resources, both living and non-living at sea. Following this a Cabinet decision was taken by which an interim Coast Guard Organization came into being on 01 Feb 1977. The Coast Guard in its present shape was formally inaugurated on 18 Aug 1978 as an independent armed force of the union with the enactment of the Coast Guard Act 1978 by the Parliament with its motto as `VAYAM RAKSHAMAH; which means `WE PROTECT'.

As of 2007 the Indian Coast Guard had a force level of 43 ships, 45 aircraft and helicopters, 18 boats/ craft and 23 noncommissioned boats/ craft in its fleet to carry out regular surveillance of the Maritime Zones of India and the areas of interest. One Advanced Offshore Patrol vessel Sankalp, constructed by M/s Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), Goa is also being commissioned. The other new incumbents to be brought into the Coast Guard force include - one Pollution Control Vessel Samudra Prahari and one Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel Samrat, launched on March 21, 2007 and July 2, 2007 respectively.

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