In order to strengthen India’s coastal surveillance, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dedicated the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network (NC3I) and Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) here.
The NC3I, which interlinks 20 naval and 31 Coast Guard monitoring stations to generate a seamless real-time picture of India’s nearly 7,500-km-long coastline, comprises a terrestrial and VSAT secure network, coastal surveillance and decision support software and the IMAC.
It will be the single-point centre interlinking the newly-formed coastal radar chain.
“India has to neutralize the presence of forces of neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean. The project is the reply of the nation to what happened on Nov 26, 2008,” an official said, referring to the Mumbai terror attack.
The official also noted that India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) offshore is one and a half times of the land mass and has extremely high potential which needs to be guarded.
For this, the Indian Navy needs data which would be provided by the IMAC, which would herald a new era in the arena of coastal security by collecting, co-relating and implementation of data fusion from various coastal security sensors and networks, the official said.
Parrikar, however, pointing towards the gaps in the project, said the distance between Karwar and Mangalore is about 350 km but there is no radar point on this stretch. On this stretch, Bhatkal is important which needs close monitoring. Similarly, a radar point is needed between Goa and Ratnagiri.
He, however, noted that in terms of coastal surveillance, the nation was in a better position than earlier and more than 37,000 vessels were being tracked through this system.
Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan said the NC3I will provide a comprehensive maritime domain awareness network.
Noting that India was a maritime nation with 90 percent of its trade through the sea, he said: “We have about 5,000 merchant ships around us and thousands of boats. There are chances of sea piracy also. The project will enable the Indian Navy to provide safe seas for resurgent nation.”
Assistant chief of naval staff (communications, space and network centric operations) Rear Admiral K.K. Pandey said the NC3I system currently comprises 46 radars and 30 additional radars are planned to fill all the gaps.
The hubs are linked by high speed optical fibre networks and satellite links serve as a back-up in case of emergency, he said, adding that apart from coastal radars and optical sensors, it also draws information from automatic identification systems fitted on merchant ships and has a comprehensive shipping database of world registers of shipping for analysis of traffic.
The network was built by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) which has sourced customised software from the US’ Raytheon.
The project, which was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council in 2012, has become operational in 15 months at a cost of Rs.453 crore.
Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjeet Singh, Indian Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral A.G. Thapliyal, Navy vice chief Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, deputy chief Vice Admiral R.K. Patnaik and BEL CMD S.K. Sharma were also present on the occasion.