India will have an apex federal body to deal with all maritime affairs, from the coastline to the high seas, and ensure cohesive policy-making and effective coordination among the multiple authorities handling such issues in the country.
“The organizational structure of a National Maritime Commission (NMC) has been worked out after inter-ministerial consultations. It is in the final stages now, requiring only the nod of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). By the middle of this year, the NMC will become a reality,” says chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat.
Sources say that the NMC is likely to be headed by a national maritime security coordinator to initiate cooperation among different stakeholders, ranging from central ministries and departments and state governments to the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, customs, intelligence agencies, and port authorities.
The necessity for such an apex body has been stressed in past too. After the lethal 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, a maritime security advisory board (MSAB), with a maritime security advisor as its chief, figured on the CSS agenda.