On India’s first National Maritime Security Coordinator (NMSC): Coast to Coast

News: Government has given approval for the appointment of the Country’s first National Maritime Security Coordinator (NMSC). The responsibility of the NMSC will be to ensure effective coordination among multiple agencies dealing with threats from the high seas. 

When was the idea for the post of NMSC proposed? 

The establishment of a post of NMSC under the National security advisor was proposed after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. 

Back then the defense ministry had proposed the creation of a maritime security advisory board and the appointment of a maritime security adviser.  

What is the significance of NMSC’s appointment? 

The appointment comes at a critical point in India’s strategic security environment –

India has a 7,516-km coastline and 2 million sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a single-point coordinator like the NMSC for all aspects of maritime security was much needed.  

It also faces a threat from the China-Pakistan axis, for this India not only needs to guard itself against sea-borne non-state actors but also keep an eye on Chinese threats emanating from the Indian Ocean Region. China today has the largest navy and a maritime militia force to carry out grey-zone tactics against adversaries.  

Global axis of power is shifting from the West to the East so the sea lanes around India are going to get busier. Countries have different interpretations of UNCLOS which may create situations like last year’s American freedom of navigation operation in India’s EEZ. 

Also, 90% of India’s trade by volume transits through the seas.  

Hence, there is a need for enhanced maritime domain awareness to protect both security and economic interests. The NMSC will help lay the blueprint for a truly modern maritime security system. 

Source: This post is based on the article “Coast to Coast” published in Times of India on 18th Feb 2022   

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