Mr. Ajay Bhatt visited Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday for the first time after taking over as Raksha Rajya Mantri (RRM). During his visit, he was briefed by DG Coast Guard K Natarajan and other senior officials on the capacities & capabilities of various operations of Coast Guard including firefighting, tackling oil spill, search & rescue, environment protection, anti-drug trafficking and combating transnational maritime crimes.
Interacting with the officials, the Raksha Rajya Mantri commended ICG’s role in protecting the country’s maritime interests with determination despite various challenges, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Indian Coast Guard has the responsibility to ensure that India’s maritime zones are safe and secure. It plays a crucial role in ensuring economic development, besides meeting the changing security challenges at sea. It is not possible to create a flawless internal and national security framework without ensuring maritime security,” he said. RRM Ajay Bhatt stressed on Security and Growth of All in the Region (SAGAR) envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that safe, protected and clean seas provide unique economic opportunities for nation building.
RRM Ajay Bhatt also lauded ICG for saving precious lives during the recent cyclones ‘Tauktae’ and ‘YAAS’. He made special mention of the firefighting operations carried out by ICG onboard Crude Carrier Motor Tanker New Diamond in September 2020 and Motor Vessel X-Press Pearl in 2021, both off Colombo, commending them for extending support to the international community in times of distress. Appreciating ICG for its anti-drug trafficking operations at sea, he said, “It has compelled international narco syndicates to move beyond the limits of our Exclusive Economic Zone”.
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