Bhatnagar was on his maiden visit to the INS Parundu base to preside over the maiden coastal security seminar in which heads of various security agencies took part. Ramanathapuram SP Om Prakash Meena also participated in the meeting. When asked about the plan to provide enhanced coastal security, Bhatnagar said the Navy has planned to extend the current airstrip to 8,000 feet so that large aircraft for monitoring and rescue operations can be brought to INS Parundu.
He added that INS Parundu is a strategically located base and the Navy is keen on developing it. A community interaction programme was held in the evening in which fishermen from Rameswaram, Mandapam and Pamban took part.
On the sidelines of the seminar, Bhatnagar said coastal security is an important part of national security and through it, various aspects such as prevention of smuggling and providing security to the fishermen are covered. There are three layers of security in the sea provided by the Navy.
First are the hired trawlers manned by Navy personnel in the coastal region and second is the monitoring of International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) by ships of the Navy and Indian Coast Guard. The third layer of security is the remote air surveillance by helicopters and aircraft of the Navy.
However, fishermen also play a key role in coastal security as they are the eyes and ears in the seas and their cooperation is essential for providing coastal security, he said.
On allegations by fishermen that Sri Lankan Navy personnel cross the IMBL and attack them, he said the SL Navy never crossed and will never cross the IMBL as it is a breach of international agreement on respecting border lines.