Route risky, says Coast Guard
The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project remains entwined in a legal dispute as the Indian Coast Guard has articulated fears of the proposed shipping passage posing a security threat, reports Rahul Singh.Updated: Feb 01, 2008 02:30 IST
Even as the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project remains entwined in a legal dispute, the Indian Coast Guard has articulated fears of the proposed shipping passage posing a security threat to the country.
Coast Guard director general Vice Admiral Rusi Contractor said on Thursday that the navigable route around the Indian peninsula could lead to “security issues,” including terror threats. “Terrorism is a universal threat. It is omnipresent. Security issues will arise... The small waterway could prove a security risk,” he said at an official briefing on the Coast Guard’s 31st anniversary.
The Coast Guard has conveyed its concerns to the Ministry of Defence. Contractor said the 167-km long canal would be vulnerable to contemporary maritime threats such as gunrunning, piracy and drug trafficking.
But he was quick to add that security measures would be put in place once the channel became functional, as had been done in busy channels like the Malacca Strait and Suez Canal.
The Coast Guard’s responsibilities have increased manifold since the force came into being on February 1, 1977 in terms of protecting India’s maritime interests, marine wealth and vast ocean resources. Contractor said the emerging security scenario in the backdrop of global terrorism called for the force to be at the highest state of vigil.