To protect its 1,600-km longcoastline, Gujarat is all set to deploy an elite force of 1,000 'amphibious' marine commandos at strategic locations for surveillance at sea and the coast against threats like infiltration and drug trafficking, a first such initiative in the country.
For this purpose, 50 per cent of commandos will be recruited from the existing State Reserve Police (SRP), Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary (Home) S K Nanda told PTI.
"Out of 1,000 commandos to be deployed for security of our coast, 50% will come from the existing SRP units, while the remaining 50 per cent will be inducted through a separate recruitment process. They will keep vigil on both land as well as sea," said Nanda.
The commando force will be in addition to marine police stations on different locations along the state coast, said Director General of Police (DGP) P C Thakur.
"With this initiative, Gujarat has become the first state in India to have its own marine commando force to protect the coastline from different threats, such as infiltration and drug trafficking through the sea," he said.
"These amphibious commandos will be responsible for keeping a strict vigil on both land as well as sea. Through a separate budget allocation for the force, we will provide them boats, jeeps and bikes for patrolling in the sea as well as on the coast," said Thakur.
"There are three layers of marine security. First being the Indian Navy, followed by Coast Guard and then comes marine commando force. The marine commandos will keep a watch over the sea till 12 nautical miles from the coast. Beyond that limit, it will be the responsibility of Coast Guard and then of Indian Navy," the DGP said.
The marine commando unit is in addition to the 22 marine police stations set up by Gujarat government at different locations along the coastal towns, such as Bhavnagar, Veraval, Porbandar and Jamnagar.
"The marine police stations are just like any other police stations meant for coastal areas, while these commando units are meant for surveillance and patrolling. We have selected Jamangar to set up a specialised training centre for marine commandos. It will also work as the headquarters for the force," Thakur said.