'7/11 not to affect India-Pak hotline plan'
The Mumbai blasts would have no impact on ongoing efforts to establish a hotline between India's Coast Guard and Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency, Coast Guard Director General Prabhakar Paleri said on Tuesday.
"The process of installing a hotline connecting maritime forces of both nations is on," Paleri said.
Paleri, who was in Goa to commission the Coast Guard's extra fast patrol vessel Meera Behn, said the "Mumbai bomb blasts would not shadow the hotline plan".
Asked about the delay in establishing the hotline, Paleri said procedures are being followed in line with the government's national policy. "Certainly, there is some progress in this matter...Certainly it is happening," he said.
India and Pakistan had agreed to establish a hotline between the chiefs of the two forces to help sort out maritime-related issues.
To a query, Paleri said at the end of 2007, the Coast Guard is expected to have 150 vessels and 57 aircraft, including five different types of flying machines.
"The Indian defence forces have worked out a plan till 2007...More (vessels) would be added in the next plan," he said.
Admitting that his force lacked manpower, he said, "We have learnt to live with a lean manpower and hence one Coast Guard personnel is equal to 10 persons."
Paleri said the process was on to have another Coast Guard station in Karnataka, somewhere in the Karwar sector, and talks on identifying land for this "were in progress".