- The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) celebrated its 46th Raising Day on February 01, 2022.
- The ICG was established in August 1978 as an independent armed force of India by the Coast Guard Act, 1978.
- As the fourth largest Coast Guard force in the world, the Indian Coast Guard has played an important role in the security of the Indian coast and enforcement of rules in the maritime areas of India.
- It is an armed forces, search and rescue and maritime law enforcement agency functioning under the Ministry of Defence.
- Its headquarter is in New Delhi.
- The concept of formation of ICG came into existence after the war of 1971.
- A visionary blueprint for a multi-pronged Coast Guard was prepared by the Rustomjee Committee.
- For effective command and control, India’s maritime regions are divided into five Coast Guard Zones, which include North-West, West, East, North-East and Andaman & Nicobar, with their headquarters at Gandhinagar, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Kolkata respectively.
- Preventing smuggling: One of the primary duties of the ICG is to prevent smuggling through sea routes.
- It has jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India including the Contiguous Zone and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
- It is responsible for the protection of the marine environment in the maritime areas of India and is coordinating with the Authority for the response to the oil spill in Indian waters.
- Citizen Assistance: It has so far rescued around 13,000 civilians in the course of its various operations. Recently also provided assistance to citizens during floods, cyclones and other natural calamities in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.
- It is working in close coordination with the Central and State agencies to establish a strong coastal security mechanism.
- Maritime Security: It cooperates with littoral countries to combat international maritime crimes and enhance maritime security in its jurisdiction as well as in the Indian Ocean region.
- Under the policy of SAGAR and Neighbourhood First, the ICG has developed commercial relations in the oceans and relations with the countries of the Indian Ocean region for the establishment of ocean peace have been installed.
- Role in Disaster Management: ICG has successfully provided protection during major ecological disasters and has emerged as a ‘First Responder’ in the region.
- For example, the ICG recently successfully averted a serious ecological disaster by dousing the chemical carrier MV X-Press Pearl off the Sri Lankan coast of “Sagar Raksha-II”.