India can "neglect" the security of the seas at its own "peril", Defence Minister AK Antony said on Friday, as he inaugurated the last outpost of the country in Minicoy island in the Arabian Sea off the Kerala coast.
"We can neglect the seas only at our peril, as the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai showed," Antony said, urging the maritime forces to remain "ever vigilant and not to lower their guard at any point of time"
He said nations were turning to the seas and oceans for sustenance as natural resources on land were fast getting depleted.
The defence minister was on his maiden visit to Lakshadweep to inaugurate the Coast Guard Station here.
He also established a new Coast Guard district headquarters for Lakshadweep at Kavaratti.
The set up at Kavaratti has been named district headquarters No 12 and will have operational control over a number of ships and aircraft such as hovercrafts, fast patrol vessels, interceptor boats, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft on the commissioning of planned stations.
All the operational platforms are equipped with modern surveillance systems, sensors, weapons and communication equipment to maintain round-the-clock vigil at sea.
The two new establishments in the strategically located islands will provide the much-needed teeth to the Coast Guard operations and enhance safety and security of Lakshadweep Islands. They would also facilitate greater synergy between the Coast Guard, the Lakshadweep administration and other agencies.