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SOURCE: THE HINDU

As part of efforts to further expand the coastal radar chain network meant to enable real time monitoring of the high seas for threats as also expand India’s assistance for capacity building to Indian Ocean littoral states, efforts are in advanced stages to set up coastal radar stations in Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to defence sources.

“Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka have already been integrated into the country’s coastal radar chain network. Similar plans are in the pipeline with Maldives and Myanmar and discussions are ongoing with Bangladesh and Thailand,” a defence source said. Similar proposals are being pursued with some more countries, a second source said without elaborating.

Nodal agency

Two of the coastal radar stations in Maldives were functional as of last year and work was under way on the third station and was to have been completed early this year. The Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) located in Gurugram which was set up after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks is the nodal agency for maritime data fusion.

As part of information exchange regarding traffic on the high seas, the Navy has been authorised by the government to conclude white shipping agreements with 36 countries and three multilateral constructs. So far agreements have been concluded with 22 countries and one multilateral construct. Of these, 17 agreements and the one multilateral construct have been operationalised, the second source stated.

Info fusion centre

At the Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) which is meant to promote Maritime Domain Awareness, three more International Liaison Officers (ILO) are expected to join soon. ILOs from France, Japan and the U.S. have already joined the centre. “The additional officers have been delayed due to COVID-19,” an official said.

Speaking to the media early this month, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said the IFC-IOR had established itself as the hub of maritime security information in the IOR through white shipping exchange agreements with 21 countries and 20 maritime security centres. ILOs from 13 countries had been invited, and three ILOs had joined the centre, with 3 more likely to join shortly, he had stated.

Under Phase-I of the coastal radar chain network, 46 coastal radar stations have been set up across the country’s coastline. Under Phase-II of the project, which is currently under way, 38 static radar stations and four mobile radar stations are being set up by the Coast Guard and is in advanced stage of completion.