National Maritime Foundation (NMF) in collaboration with the Indian Military
Review (IMR) hosted a seminar on Strategic Maritime Infrastructure Protection at DRDO
Bhavan, New Delhi, on 9th
The preliminary opening remarks by the Director NMF, Dr.
Vijay Sakhuja aptly encapsulated the importance and timeliness of the seminar
by quoting Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R.K. Dhowan “Seas are no longer a benign medium the threats are real the global
common has become vulnerable because of the challenges posed by asymmetric
warfare and maritime terrorism and piracy and floating armies.” The quote
was additionally supported by pointing out the key drivers to maritime critical
infrastructure like ports, harbours, shipping lane, under water sea cables,
energy security and the global need to counter the threats to
critical maritime infrastructure. The key note address was delivered by
Vice Admiral Anurag Thapiyal, Director General, Indian Coast Guard, who focused
on the strategic maritime infrastructure, and also stressed on the protection
of critical infrastructure including the role of private and state players in
mitigating the risk in the maritime domain. The term, ‘protection’ was highlighted
and the key question was raised as to who is responsible for the protection of
the coast? Is it the stake holders or the government, or the combination of the
two. Mr RS Bedi, who was also a part of the opening session, gave an insightful
view of the industry on coastal security, emphasizing on the use of technology
for mitigating the risk.
panellists included a cross section of specialists including academics, professionals,
and the industry experts. The academicians provided a broad based conceptual
underpinning to the deliberations, the professionals shared functional insights,
and the industry representatives contributed substantially by giving options to
policy makers through technological solutions for India’s capacity building in
strategic infrastructure protection.
The theme for the first session was ‘offshore security’ ,which
was chaired by Rear Admiral R.M Purandre, Flag Officer Offshore Defense
Advisory Group (FODAG). The panellists comprised Mr Phil Renaud from Raytheon, Cdr B. D. Gaur HQ ODAC, Mr
H.S Pannu from the Reliance company, Mr R.P Unniyal from the ONGC group and Cdr.
Raghavendra Mishra from National Maritime Foundation. The need for India to secure its
energy resources was re emphasized, and the stakes involved in offshore
security was highlighted. The need to devise a strategy for the future of
offshore security was also noted.
The session covered a wide
area of offshore security. The speakers brought out key issues ranging from
private security agencies to the use of UAV’s for Maritime Domain Awareness
(MDA). The presentations outlined the use of technology by private stakeholders
in mitigating the offshore risks. The presentation also provided a conceptual
clarity on issues concerning offshore infrastructure protection by focusing on
the energy security and the strategic importance of Oilfield Development Areas (ODAS).
The speakers with their varied background shed light on the different ways of
mitigating energy ‘insecurities’. The session apart from outlining the
government’s view on offshore security, also provided a valuable insight into the work undertaken by the
private stakeholders. Overall, the session helped in bringing forth the challenges
India encounters in terms of offshore security. The need for a collaborative effort by all the
stakeholders was a major takeaway.
The second session focused on issues of ‘Coastal
Security’. It was moderated by Inspector
General K.R. Nautiyal, DIG Operations, Coast Guard, and the session panellists
included Commander Arun Saigal (Retd.), former Deputy Director Naval
Operations, DIG AA Hebbaar,
Principal Director (Fisheries and Environment), Coast Guard, Ms. Deepika Gupta ,
Bharat Electronics Limited R&D Divison, Coastal Security Project, Mr. Prince Joseph, Principal
Project Director-Integrated Coastal Surveillance Project, NPOL Kochi ,and Dr. O P
Dahiya, Associate Fellow, NMF.
It emerged that coastal
security is a dynamic process. Focusing on this evolution, the session brought
out the various facets of India’s coastal security challenges and the response
to these challenges. Apart from providing meaningful insights about the
maritime domain, the varied technologies used in mitigating coastal security were highlighted. The session
witnessed the speakers providing theoretical clarity about the critical
infrastructure used to tackle the coastal security dilemma. The recent operationalization of Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at
Gurgaon was noted.The speakers opined
that, though the Government of India has undertaken certain initiatives, yet
they are inadequate in the evolving threat scenario. The presentations emphasized on certain imperatives required for
conceptualizing coastal infrastructure protection. Featuring among these
imperatives is proper legislation that could help in coastal security. While
highlighting the voids prevailing in the existing system, the speakers urged that
a comprehensive security system that is tolerant to all kinds of threats
including spoofing is needed.
Gurpreet Khurana Executive Director NMF, summed up the event in his concluding
remarks and acknowledged IMR as the key partner in initiating and organizing