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We will ensure that there are no loopholes in the coastal security system: Rajnath

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Panaji: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government wants to ensure a foolproof coastal security system for the country, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Monday.

STATEN ISLAND, New York (Aug. 14, 2003)--Seaman Operations Specialist Jason Dailey, sector operator at the Vessel Traffic Center at Coast Guard Activities New York, Staten Island, N.Y. monitors  vessel traffic in the New York Harbor before the blackout darkened the northeast Aug. 14, 2003.  Unlike the many city traffic signals that went out, the VTC had back-up generators and battery power that helped harbor traffic continue to flow freely through the duration of the blackout.  USCG photo PA2 Mike Hvozda

The minister said that senior members of parliament, who are on the parliamentary consultative committee attached to the home ministry, had given suggestions on the issue and his ministry will give these serious thought and take a call on the same.

Rajnath Singh was talking to reporters here after chairing a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to the union home ministry to discuss coastal security.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijuju was also present on the occasion.

“Today (Monday), we had a meeting of the parliamentary committee on coastal-related issues. Our government wants a foolproof coastal security system,” the home minister said.

“Our senior members of parliament gave suggestions and our home ministry will take a call on them after giving it a serious thought,” Rajnath Singh added.

He pointed out that to strengthen the coastal security, one must first consider the country’s coastline as “vulnerable and then work towards plugging the gaps”.

“We should consider that all of our coastline is vulnerable. It is not, but we should consider it that way,” Rajnath Singh said.

“We have ensured coastal security to a large extent, but we want to ensure no loopholes anywhere. Whatever loopholes are there, we will decide on plugging them,” he added.

The Indian mainland has a coastline of approximately 5,700 km. If one considers the coastline of island territories, the Indian coastline adds up to around 7,500 km.

The committee also discussed issues related to maritime security, including the security apparatus on the coast, offshore and high seas.

Rajnath Singh also said that the national committee on strengthening maritime and coastal security will review timely implementation of various proposals and key issues/ matters pertaining to maritime and coastal security.

He also underscored the need for effective coordination among central ministries and agencies and state governments and union territories having a coastline.

Apart from the two central ministers, the meeting was also attended by Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, union home secretary L.C. Goyal and other senior officials of the MHA and Indian Coast Guard.

(IANS)

Next Story

The Rafale Deal: Corporate Rivalry Impacting National Interest

A deeper look found a correlation between the end of Shourie's dreams of being appointed Union Finance Minister and the beginning of his tirade against the Prime Minister on one issue or the other.

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on 'India's strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal'.Pixabay

A recent European Union intelligence sharing exercise with India has revealed that Lockheed Martin, the US-headquartered company which manufactures the F-16 fighter jets, has been up to mischief mongering on the Rafale issue.

The Rafale jets, which India wants, is manufactured by the French aerospace company Dassault Aviation, a rival of Lockheed Martin.

That Lockheed Martin could be working in the shadows to sour the Rafale deal for India so that it could move in with its own deal was validated when Vivek Lall, Lockheed Martin’s high-profile head of strategy and India operations, said that the company was in the process of finalising the sale of 200 fighters to India.

During the UPA regime, the government had signed an MoU for 126 Rafale fighter jets to replenish a major shortcoming in air defence preparedness because the Indian Air Force did not have quality fighter jets. When the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, this deal was revised and an inter-government deal was struck to receive 36 fully-loaded Rafale jets. The controversy now raging in India is related to the pricing for the fighters negotiated by the NDA.

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on ‘India’s strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal’. Pixabay

In December when the Rafale case came before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed that processes were generally followed over the procurement. He also noted that the controversy had been triggered by comments by former French President Francois Hollande over the selection of the offset partner and that mere comments could not form the basis for a probe.

However, this has not prevented the Rafale purchase controversy from becoming a high-octane political battle between the Congress party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Repeatedly over the past few months and more stridently now in the lead-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has led a no-holds barred attack on the government and the Prime Minister specifically on the issue. From the earlier public disinterest on the controversy, it is now now getting some traction — the Congress party believes this could be possible because it has relentlessly raised the matter at all public forums.

Bringing up the case of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was said to be part of the orhestrated plan to present the case of the American companies while also appearing nationalistic. In the government’s estimate, HAL’s record is abysmal and it cannot be given a big responsibility like building fighter jets — more so in the light of the safety record of MiG fighters purchased from Russia and made under licence from HAL.

The BJP-led government at the Centre believes — and it is certain it has evidence of this — that the Congress party is doing this as it has become a party to corporate rivalry between the US and French aerospace companies. For the record, Lockheed Martin is believed to have found a sympathetic ally in another US aerospace major, Boeing, which manufactures the F-18. Dassault has another rival in French manufacturer Airbus Industrie, which is associated with BAE for the manufacture of the Eurofighter. It is also angling for a fighter jet contract with India.

Rahul Gandhi’s attacks on the government over the Rafale issue started after his visit to the US in August 2017 when he met several defence lobbyists, CEOs of US defence companies and Pentagon officials.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on ‘India’s strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal’.

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Contrary to popular perception, the Trump administration is said to be extremely unhappy with India because the NDA government under Modi has been successful in building strong relationships with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Pixabay

The government’s efforts to trace the footprints of the dramatis personae at the forefront of the campaign to target the government over the Rafale deal has produced surprising results. It has found what it believes are eye-opening linkages between Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie — who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court accusing the Prime Minister of corruption in the deal — and arms dealers and defence manufacturers. At least in one case, the linkages show deep connections between members of Shourie’s family with aerospace companies, arms dealers and defence lobbies.

A deeper look found a correlation between the end of Shourie’s dreams of being appointed Union Finance Minister and the beginning of his tirade against the Prime Minister on one issue or the other.

Also Read: The Craft of Distilling Is Ancient, Different Story Behind Every Bottle

The government is also aware of the links between a top BJP leader’s son-in-law and a French manufacturer. The son-in-law is said to be advising Rahul Gandhi and is believed to be making government documents available to him for the campaign against Rafale.

Lockheed Martin’s alleged actions to work the political ecosystem to pull down the Rafale procurement deal also has a larger strategic context. Contrary to popular perception, the Trump administration is said to be extremely unhappy with India because the NDA government under Modi has been successful in building strong relationships with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.  (IANS)