Agencies and Institutions of Maritime Security

In India, maritime security is not only responsibility of a single ministry or department. It is a combined effort of several ministries departments and agencies. There are four ministries in India which take care of the maritime issues.

They are:

  • Ministry of Defence
  • Ministry of Home affairs
  • Ministry of Fisheries
  • Ministry of Shipping

Other main stake holders are:

  • Ministry of External Affairs
  • Ministry of Communication and Information Technology

Forces for Sea Borders Protection

Forces responsible for protection of our sea borders are The Indian Coast Guard, Border Security Force (Rann of Kutch is Protected by BSF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). CISF looks after the security of the major ports. State governments including island territories of India which have coastal regions employ the following agencies:

1. Forces

State marine police

State marine home guards (e.g. Tamil Nadu)

State coastal security committees

District coastal security committees

2. Intelligence agencies

  • National Technical Research Organisation
  • Research and Analysis Wing
  • Intelligence Bureau
  • Narcotics control bureau
  • Directorate of revenue intelligence
  • Defence intelligence agency
  • Directorate of navy intelligence

3. Research and Development organizations

  • Indian Space Research Organisation
  • Defence Research & Development Organisation
  • National Centre of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security (NCETIS), IIT Bombay

4. Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), Ministry of Home Affairs

5. Central Board of Excise & Customs, Ministry of Finance

6. National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS)

7. National Marine Police Training Institute (MPTI) (Planning)

8. Central Marine Police Force (Planning)

Indian Coast Guard

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is responsible for the security of coastal and territorial waters. It was formally established on 18 of August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978. The ICG is responsible for maritime surveillance across India's 2 million sq. km of Exclusive Economic Zone.

ICG is also responsible for the overall coordination between central and state agencies in the matters relating to coastal security. According to the 1976 Indian Maritime Zone Act the maritime zones of India are divided into 5 coastal regions which have their headquarters as follows:

  1. North West - Gandhinagar
  2. West - Mumbai
  3. East - Chennai
  4. North East - Kolkata
  5. Andaman and Nicobar - Port Blair

These regions are further divided into 12 coast guard districts - one each in the nine coastal states, two in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and one in Kavaratti in Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands.

Indian Navy

Another main agency which is looking after the maritime security is the Indian Navy. The new maritime strategy of Indian navy is based on the concept of ensuring secure sea lanes of communication. Indian Maritime Security Strategy follows two key aspects. 

First, the rise in sources, types and intensity of threats. Second, in order to provide 'freedom to use the seas' for India's national interests, it is necessary to ensure that the seas remain secure.

International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS)

The international ship and port facility security code (ISPS) is a comprehensive set of guidelines and regulations established for the security of ships and port facilities.

International Maritime Organisation: IMO is the specialized agency of UN. It is responsible for setting up global standard for security, safety and environmental performance of international shipping.

It is developed by International Maritime Organisation. Post 9/11 they brought strict regulations in the area of maritime security and safety. The code is constituted in the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). There are 148 signatories.

The purpose of this code is to establish a standardised frame work across international ports and ships. This then allows governments to efficiently evaluate risks and offset threats to security level and undertake the security measure prescribed by the code. India implemented this code in 2004 and 10 minor ports are working under this code.