Nation

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hails Coast Guard for maintaining maritime peace, saving lives

New Delhi: India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conferred gallantry and meritorious service medals on the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel at an investiture ceremony held in New Delhi, on Saturday (October 9).

A total of 21 awards, including three President’s Tatrakshak (Coast Guard)Medals (Distinguished Service), eight Tatrakshak Medals (Gallantry) and 10 Tatrakshak Medals (Meritorious Service) were presented during the ceremony.

The medals were in recognition of the selfless devotion, exemplary courage and acts of valour of the ICG personnel under extreme conditions.

Director General ICG, K Natarajan and senior officers of Ministry of Defence and Indian Coast Guard were present on the occasion.

Commending the forces that are known as the ‘Sentinels of the sea’, the Minister said that, ICG which began their service to the nation with just 4-6 boats, is now one of the best maritime forces in the world with over 150 ships and 66 aircraft.

This ever-growing stature, he added, instills confidence among the people that the national maritime interests are under safe supervision. He also touched upon how India is a rising maritime power and its prosperity is largely dependent on the sea.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’, (SAGAR) he lauded the ICG for being at the forefront in achieving that goal by promoting regional cooperation, maintaining maritime peace in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and working closely with international maritime agencies.

Special mentions were made of the the ICG’s effort in fire-fighting and pollution response operations – Sagar Raksha-I and Sagar Raksha-II, which played a significant role in dousing the blaze onboard large crude oil carrier ‘New Diamond’ and container vessel ‘Express Pearl’ off the Sri Lankan Coast, in late 2020.

These operations not only showcases India’s stature as a responsible and capable maritime power, but also averted a major disaster in the IOR, he added.

Besides the role played in search and rescue operations and saving lives during the recent cyclones ‘Tauktae’ and ‘Yaas’, the Minister also commended the ICG’s operations against illegal weapons and narcotics trafficking.

It is notable that ICG had carried out 70 medical evacuations, conducted 555 search and rescue operations and saved the lives of more than 1,090 people, last year.

Following the Investiture ceremony, the Minister also addressed the 38th Coast Guard Commanders’ Conference. This Conference is an annual meet which is attended by all the senior officers of the ICG and Ministry of Defence.

A brief on recent operational and administrative developments in Indian Coast Guard was presented to the Raksha Mantri. A wide range of issues pertaining to strengthening of the ICG as well as legitimate, legal use of oceans will be discussed during the three-day Conference.