The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) celebrates its 46th Raising Day on 1 February, 2022. The fourth largest Coast Guard in the world, the ICG has saved over 10,000 lives since its establishment in 1977. The Indian Coast Guard was inaugurated with just seven surface platforms in 1978. Since then, the organisation has increased its inventory to 156 ships and 62 aircraft. It is likely to achieve the targeted force levels of 80 aircraft and 200 surface platforms by the year 2025, as per a release by the Press Information Bureau.
Motto: The motto of the ICG is “Vayam Rakshamah” or “We Protect”.
Mission of the Indian Coast Guard: The mission of the Indian Coast Guard is offshore security, marine safety and coastal security. It has also been given the task of securing India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The ICG is responsible for protection of the marine environment and providing scientific assistance, according to its official website. The Coast Guard is also tasked with national defence, in times of war.
Role in the pandemic: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the IGC has maintained its vigilant patrolling of India’s EEZ. The force has deployed about 12 aircraft and 50 ships daily. Last year, the ICG has also assisted Sri Lanka in fighting a major fire on board the Singapore-flagged cargo vessel MV X-Press Pearl.
The IGC has also ensured that over 40,000 fishermen and 6,000 fishing boats were escorted to safe harbours during cyclonic storms in 2020, under the oraganisation’s ‘Preventive and Measured Response’. This has led to huge loss of lives and property being averted by the Coast Guard.
The Indian Coast Guard came into existence after Committee under KF Rustamji submitted its report on the Indian government’s shortcomings in combating smuggling and other illegal maritime activities. The report strongly recommended the setting up of a ‘Coast Guard’ for securing India’s EEZ and marine resources.In 1977, the Indian Coast Guard came into existence on 1 February, after the Union Cabinet approved the establishment of the force. The ICG was inaugurated on 19 August, 1978, by then Prime Minister Morarji Desai.