The Indian Coast Guard has planned to acquire 16 advanced light helicopters apart from 50 vessels to its fleet as part of its vision to have 200 ships and 100 aircraft inventory by 2025.
Coast Guard Director General K Natarajan also said that ''we are in talks with the DoT(Department of Telecommunications) for satellite bandwidth for our use''.
The first of the twin engine helicopter was expected to be inducted by March 2020, he said after the 19th edition of Indo-Japan joint exercise "Sahyog-Kaijin," about 50 nautical miles off Chennai coast.
Natarajan noted that the Coast Guard has recorded significant progress and the present inventory was at 145 ships and 62 aircraft. "The budget (of Coast Guard) which was about Rs 1,000 crore has now grown to more than Rs 5,000 crore in terms of both revenue and capital," he said.
"We are also in the process of acquiring 14 twin engine heavy helicopters and 6 multi-mission maritime aircraft which will have a capability of maintaining surveillance in our exclusive economic zone," he said.
"We also plan to install 38 more Radar Stations apart from integrating the radar stations with Vessel Traffic Management System of the Ports. Our vision is to reach 200 ships and 100 aircraft by 2025," he said. On the joint exercise, he said this year it was the turn of Japanese Coast Guard to visit India, further strengthening ties between the two nations.
Referring to the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC), Japan Coast Guard commandant admiral Takahiro Okushima said the relationships between the two coast guards was getting stronger every year. "So far we have conducted 18 such joint exercises. Through today's exercise we realise once again the partnerships steadily enhanced," he said.
Earlier in the day, the exercise was conducted off the Chennai Coast as part of strengthening the bond between the two countries. One ship of the Japanese Coast Guard and four ships and
an aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard took part in the exercise.
Led by Commanding Officer Captain Kiyoshi Harada, the 'Echigo PLH08' and the four ships and a Dornier aircraft of Indian Coast Guard participated in the drill around 50 nautical miles off Chennai.