National Maritime Security Coordinator Appointment on Cards

Indian Navy

New Delhi: With increasing tensions along the Sino-Indian border as also China’s approach to the Indo-Pacific region during the last couple of years becoming  a major talking point among leading global powers, the government is likely to appoint a National Maritime Security Coordinator to ensure cohesive and quicker decision making among multiple organisations that are handling maritime issues in India, officials said.

Officials said a retired or serving Vice Admiral of the Indian Navy may be selected for the position of the maritime security coordinator. The security coordinator will head the National Maritime Commission (NMC)-which will coordinate with all organisations such as the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), the ports and the shipping ministries and is likely to report to the National Security Adviser (NSA), they said.

The Kargil Review Committee, which was formed after the 1999 Kargil war, had recommended formation of an apex body that would manage country’s maritime affairs by enforcing linkages between the Indian Navy, the ICG and other ministries and departments of the state governments or the central government. The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical for India’s strategic interests. China has been making concerted efforts to increase its presence in the region.

The Indian Navy has been ramping up its presence in the Indian Ocean to keep a hawk-eyed vigil over Chinese activities. It established the Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in 2018 to effectively keep track of the shipping traffic as well as other critical developments in the region under a collaborative framework with like-minded countries.

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