EEZ Current Affairs - 2019

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K Natarajan appointed new Coast Guard DG

K Natarajan has been appointed as new Director General (DG) of Indian Coast Guard (ICG). He will be succeeding Rajendra Singh, who retires on 30 June 2019.

About K. Natarajan

Natarajan is 1984-batch officer. The flag officer has held various important command and staff appointments, both afloat and ashore. He also served as the Commanding Officer, ICGS Mandapam.

Current Post: He is currently serving as Additional Director General (ADG) of ICG’s Western Sea Board, which looks after security of sensitive maritime boundary from Gujarat to Kerala.

Key Post: His key staff assignments at ICG headquarters include- Chairman, Coast Guard Service Selection Board (SSB), Principal Director (Policy and Plans), Principal Director (Projects), Joint Director (Operations), Coast Guard Advisor (CGA) to Director General, ICG, Chief Staff Officer (Personnel & Administration) at Headquarters Region (East), Chennai, Chief of Staff at Headquarters Region (West), Mumbai, Officer-in-Charge and Coast Guard Training Centre, Kochi.

He has commanded all classes of ICG ships-

  • Sangram: Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV)
  • Veera: Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)
  • Kanaklata Barua: Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV)
  • Chandbibi: Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV).

About Indian Coast Guard

It is India’s statutory multi-mission paramilitary organization that is responsible for safeguarding country’s’ maritime interests and enforces maritime law.

It was established on 18 August 1978 by Coast Guard Act, 1978. It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Defence.

It has jurisdiction over India’s territorial waters, including its contiguous zone and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

It is country’s one of the youngest Armed Force and has 142 ships & 62 aircraft in total.

 Indian Navy deploys P81 to increase Anti-Piracy Patrol

The Indian Navy recently deployed its P8I surveillance planes for carrying out anti-piracy patrol sorties from Salalah (in Oman) to patrol the Gulf of Aden and other piracy prone areas.

Key Highlights

  • Objective: The deployment is an expansion of Navy’s Mission Based Deployments (MBD) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), to keep the region safe.
  • Background: Since 2008, India has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the commercially and strategically crucial Gulf of Aden. This is the second time in 2019 that the P-8I was operated from Salalah for anti-piracy. First time it was operated in January 2019.
  • Services: Indian Navy provides escorting services to Indian flagged vessels as well as provides protection to ships of other countries. Till date Indian Navy has deployed 73 ships on anti-piracy patrols and has escorted over 3,440 ships, out of which 3,027 were of foreign flag and 413 were of Indian flag. Also, no ship under Indian escort has so far been hijacked by pirates.

About P-8I

  • Background: In 2012, India placed orders from United States for 12 ‘P-8’ India maritime surveillance and anti-submarine under a $2.2 Billion deal. The deal was later followed up with four more order of these planes.
  • Function: It is used for carrying out extensive surveillance of the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Features
  • It is long-range anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
  • It is capable of providing a long-range Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).
  • It has also helped in detection of Chinese nuclear and conventional submarines operating in IOR and other regions close to India.

About Mission Based Deployments

With the increasing geo-strategic importance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Indian Navy regularly deploys ships for Presence and Surveillance Missions (PSM), off critical choke points or sea lanes in IOR. Under MBD concept, since August 2017 Indian Navy deployments in IOR have been further structured such as that Navy maintains a ship at every choke point in IOR at any point of time.

Way Forward

  • India has stepped up its cooperation with Indian Ocean littoral states and maritime neighbours, as part of expanding its maritime engagement. Also, ‘search and rescue’ operations and capability-enhancement activities have also emerged as key areas.
  • Under India’s Neighbourhood First policy, Navy undertakes various maritime exercises such as Joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance exercise with Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) exercise with Indonesia, Myanmar Thailand and Bangladesh.