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Updated February 1st, 2024 at 09:48 IST

From 7 Ships to over 150 Warships in 2024: Indian Coast Guard Celebrates 48th Raising Day

With ICG’s intent and procurement plan, it might soon be even larger than India’s immediate naval rival and western neighbour, Pakistan.

Digital Desk
A Coast Guard ship and helicopter was mobilised to find the missing mariner off the coast of Mumbai. Image for representative purposes.
The ICG follows the motto "Vayam Rakshamah" or "We Protect" and has saved over 11,554 lives since 1977 | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is commemorating its 48th raising day and its history, which dates back to 1978, when the Coast Guard was established with only seven surface vessels. However, now the ICG operates over 152 warships and around 80 aircraft. ICG now has plans to operate over 200 naval assets and over 100 aircraft. With ICG’s intent and procurement plan, it might soon be even larger than India’s immediate naval rival and western neighbour, Pakistan.

Lifeguards of Indian Coasts

ICG’s main role is to safeguard Indian coasts; thus, it has a presence in the Northern Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Bay of Bengal. ICG makes its presence felt in an array of maritime operations, with anti-piracy, counter smuggling and humanitarian and disaster relief operations being among its top priorities. 

The motto that every ICG personnel carries along with them is ‘Vayam Rakshamah’ or ‘We protect’. As per official data, ICG has saved over 11,000 lives since 1977, with 200 lives saved and rescued in 2023 alone. Further, as per media reports, ICG has a forward deployment of over 50 ships and around 10 aircraft daily to guard India’s maritime domain more effectively from foreign threats. 

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ICG’s Expansion Plans 

To combat potential threats in international shipping lanes and India's huge seas and shorelines, ICG has always opted to procure more Indian-made platforms rather than relying on foreign vendors for its needs. As of 2024, 21 ICG ships are currently under construction at Indian Shipyards.

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In the effort to strengthen aerial capabilities, 16 Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALH) Mark-III have also been introduced, and contracts for additional Dornier aircraft are in progress. Also important to note is ICG’s paperless initiative of transitioning to 'Digital Armed Force’. For this purpose, it has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Defense and TCIL with the specific aim of achieving a paperless office as part of the ‘Digital Coast Guard mission’.

Saviours of India’s Maritime Ecosystem 

As the central coordinating authority for oil spill response in the Indian exclusive economic zone, the ICG has successfully prevented major oil spills in Indian waters throughout 2023. The 25th National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan meeting and the 9th National Pollution Response Exercise were conducted to assess preparedness and coordination among agencies to respond to oil spills.

Additionally, in line with the principles of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’, the ICG, as hailed by the Defense Ministry, has remained committed to indigenous development, with a focus on self-reliance and modernisation.

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Published February 1st, 2024 at 09:40 IST

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