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Indian Coast Guard

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Indian Coast Guard
Indian Coast Guard crest
Indian Coast Guard crest
Racing stripe
Racing stripe
Mottoवयम् रक्षामः (Sanskrit)
Vayam Rakṣāmaḥ (ISO)[1]
We protect
Agency overview
Formed18 August 1978 (1978-08-18)
Employees13,842 sanctioned strength (2018–19)[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionIndia
Constituting instrument
  • The Coast Guard Act, 1978
Specialist jurisdiction
  • Coastal patrol, marine border protection, marine search and rescue.
Operational structure
HeadquartersIndian Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi
Agency executives
Parent agencyMinistry of Defence
Planes77 aircraft[4]
  • Coast Guard Day: 1 February
indiancoastguard.gov.in Edit this at Wikidata

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is a maritime law enforcement and search and rescue agency of India with jurisdiction over its territorial waters including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone. It was started on 1 February 1977 and formally established on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India.[5] It operates under the Ministry of Defence.[6]

The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs), and the Central Armed Police Forces, and the State Police Services.


The establishment of the Indian Coast Guard was first proposed by the Indian Navy to provide non-military maritime services to the nation.[7] In the 1960s, sea-borne smuggling of goods was threatening India's domestic economy. The Indian Customs Department frequently called upon the Indian Navy for assistance with patrol and interception in the anti-smuggling effort.

The Nagchaudhuri Committee was constituted with participation from the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force to study the problem. In August 1971, the committee identified the requirement to patrol India's vast coastline, set up a registry of offshore fishing vessels to identify illegal activity, and establish a capable and well-equipped force to intercept vessels engaged in illegal activities. The committee also looked at the number and nature of the equipment, infrastructure and personnel required to provide those services.[7]

Indian Coast Guard promotional movie launched on the eve of 46th raising day

By 1973, India had started a programme to acquire the equipment and started deputing personnel from the Indian Navy for these anti-smuggling and law enforcement tasks, under the provisions of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act. The Indian Navy sensed that the law enforcement nature of these duties diverged from its core mission as a military service. Admiral Sourendra Nath Kohli, then Chief of Naval Staff, hence made a recommendation to the Defence Secretary outlining the need for a separate maritime service to undertake those duties and offering the Navy's assistance in its establishment. On 31 August 1974, the Defence Secretary submitted a note to the Cabinet Secretary proposing cabinet action on Admiral Kohli's recommendation.

As a result, in September 1974, the Indian cabinet set up the Rustamji Committee, under the chairmanship of Khusro Faramurz Rustamji, with participation from the Navy, the Air Force and the Department of Revenue to examine gaps in security and law enforcement between the roles of the Indian Navy and the central and state police forces. The discovery of oil off Bombay High further emphasised the need for a maritime law enforcement and protection service. The committee submitted its recommendation for the establishment of the Indian Coast Guard under the Ministry of Defence on 31 July 1975. Bureaucratic wrangling followed, with the Cabinet Secretary making a recommendation to place the service under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi overruled the Cabinet Secretary and decided to accept the original recommendation of the Rustamji Committee to place the service under the Ministry of Defence.[7]

An interim Indian Coast Guard came into being on 1 February 1977, equipped with two small corvettes and five patrol boats transferred from the Navy. The duties and functions of the service were formally defined in the Coast Guard Act, which was passed by India's parliament on 18 August 1978 and came into immediate effect.[5]

Vice Admiral V. A. Kamath of the Indian Navy was appointed the founding Director-General. Prime Minister Morarji Desai inspected the Guard of Honour at the service's inauguration. Vice Admiral Kamath proposed a five-year plan to develop the ICG into a potent force by 1984, but the full potential of this plan was not immediately realised due to an economic resource crunch.[7]

One of the historic operational successes of the ICG occurred in October 1999, with the recapture at high seas of a Panamanian-registered Japanese cargo ship, MV Alondra Rainbow, hijacked off Indonesia. Her crew were rescued off Phuket, Thailand. The ship had been repainted as MV Mega Rama, and was spotted off Kochi, heading towards Pakistan. She was chased by ICGS Tarabai and INS Prahar (K98) of the Indian Navy, and apprehended.[8] It was the first successful prosecution of armed pirates in over a century.

Indian Coast Guard ship and helicopter during the Search and Rescue Workshop and Exercise (SAREX), 2014

The Indian Coast Guard conducts exercises with the other coast guards of the world. In May 2005, the ICG agreed to establish liaison links with the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA). In 2006, the Indian Coast Guard conducted exercises with its Japanese and Korean counterparts.

After the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Indian government initiated a programme to expand the ICG force, assets and infrastructure.

The force aims to have 200 ships and 100 twin-engined aircraft by 2023 in its fleet.[9]

Present scenario[edit]

Current role[edit]

Coast Guard DHQ-4 Headquarters in Kochi, Kerala

The Indian Coast Guard's motto is "वयम रक्षामः" (Vayam Rakshamah), which translates from Sanskrit as "We Protect".

Missions of Indian Coast Guard:[10]

  • Safety and protection of artificial islands, offshore terminals and other installations
  • Protection and assistance to fishermen and mariners at sea
  • Preservation and protection of marine ecology and environment including pollution control
  • Assistance to the Department of Customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations
  • Law enforcement in territorial as well as international waters
  • Scientific data collection and support
  • National defence during hostilities (under the operational control of the Indian Navy)

Additional responsibilities of the Indian Coast Guard:[11]

  • Offshore Security Coordination Committee (OSCC) – The Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard is the Chairman of OSCC constituted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), of which the Flag Officer Defence Advisory Group is a member.
  • National Maritime Search and Rescue Coordinating Authority (NMSARCA) – The Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard is the NMSARCA for executing / coordinating search and rescue (SAR) missions
  • Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) – For coastal and sea borders
  • Coastal Security – The Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard is the commander of coastal command and is responsible for overall coordination between central and state agencies in all matters relating to coastal security

Leadership and organisation[edit]

The Indian Coast Guard organisation is headed by the Director-General (DG ICG) who is located at Coast Guard Headquarters (CGHQ), New Delhi. At CGHQ, he is assisted by the Additional Director General Coast Guard (ADGCG) of the rank of ADG, four Deputy Director-Generals of the rank of Inspector-General, and other senior officers heading various staff divisions. The current Director-General is Rakesh Pal, AVSM, PTM, TM.[12]

Director-General of Indian Coast Guard is equivalent to Vice Admiral of Indian Navy.[13]

The Indian Coast Guard has the Western and Eastern Seaboard, both commanded by three-star officers designated Coast Guard Commander Western Seaboard and Coast Guard Commander Eastern Seaboard. The seaboards are in turn divided into four regions. The Andaman & Nicobar Region reports directly to the DGICG. Each region is headed by an officer of the rank of Inspector-General. Each of the regions is further divided into multiple districts, typically covering a coastal state or a union territory.

Coast Guard Seaboards HQ location Seaboard Commander
Western Seaboard Mumbai
Eastern Seaboard Visakapatanam
Coast Guard regions Regional HQ location Regional commander
North-West Region (NW) Gandhinagar IG AK Harbola, TM
Western Region (W) Mumbai IG Bhisham Sharma, PTM TM
Eastern Region (E) Chennai IG Donny Michael, TM(G)
North-East Region (NE) Kolkata IG IS Chauhan, TM
Andaman & Nicobar Region (A&N) Port Blair IG Neeraj Tiwari, TM

As of 2023, the Indian Coast Guard operates:[14]

  • 42 Coast Guard Stations
  • 5 Coast Guard Air Stations
  • 10 Coast Guard Air Enclaves


As of 2016, there are 42 Coast Guard stations which have been established along the coastline of the country.[15][16]

Regional HQ District HQ Coast Guard Station
North-East Region (NE) CGRHQ Kolkata[17] DHQ-7 Paradip CGAE Bhubaneswar[18]
ICGS Gopalpur[19]
DHQ-8 Haldia ICGS Frazerganj (FOB)[20]
ICGS Kolkata
Eastern Region (E) CGRHQ Chennai DHQ-5 Chennai ICGAS Chennai[21]
ICGS Chennai
DHQ-6 Visakhapatnam ICGS Visakhapatnam
ICGS Kakinada
ICGS Krishnapatnam
ICGS Nizampatnam
CGAE Visakhapatnam (Proposed)[22][23]
DHQ-13 Puducherry[24] ICGS Puducherry
ICGAS Puducherry
ICGS Karaikal
DHQ-16 Thoothukudi[25] ICGS Thoothukudi
ICGS Mandapam
CGAS Thoothukudi (Land acquisition in-progress)[26][27]
Andaman & Nicobar Region (A&N) CGRHQ Port Blair DHQ-14 Port Blair ICGS Port Blair
CGAE Port Blair
ICGS Hutbay
DHQ-9 Diglipur ICGS Mayabunder[28]
ICGS Diglipur
DHQ-10 Campbell Bay ICGS Campbell Bay
ICGS Kamorta
Western Region (W) CGRHQ Mumbai DHQ-3 New Mangaluru ICGS Karwar[29]
CGAE New Mangaluru[30]
DHQ-2 Mumbai ICGS Murud Janjira
ICGS Ratnagiri
ICGS Dahanu
DHQ-4 Kochi ICGS Vizhinjam
ICGS Beypore
CGAE Kochi
DHQ-11 Mormugao ICGS Goa
CGAE Dabolim
DHQ-12 Kavaratti ICGS Kavaratti
ICGS Minicoy
ICGS Androth
CGAS Daman
North-West Region (NW) CGRHQ Gandhinagar ICGS Gandhinagar
DHQ-1 Porbandar ICGS Pipavav
ICGS Jakhau
ICGS Mundra
ICGS Veraval
ICGS Vadinar
CGAE Porbandar


Indian Coast Guard personnel with NWU Type-1 camo replacing the "Blue working uniform" as worn by a personnel in right

Officer rank structure[edit]

A table showing the rank structure of Coast Guard officers with those of the other Indian armed services.[31]

Indian Coast Guard Ranks Indian Army Ranks Indian Navy Ranks Indian Air Force Ranks
Director-General /Additional Director-General Lieutenant General Vice Admiral Air Marshal
Inspector-General Major General Rear Admiral Air Vice Marshal
Deputy Inspector-General Brigadier Commodore Air Commodore
Commandant (Level 13-Pay Scale) Colonel Captain Group Captain
Commandant (Junior Grade) Lt Colonel Commander Wing Commander
Deputy Commandant Major Lt Commander Squadron Leader
Assistant Commandant (2 Years) Captain Lieutenant Flight Lieutenant
Assistant Commandant Lieutenant Sub Lieutenant Flying Officer

Coast Guard officers[edit]

The Coast Guard Marching Contingent passes through the Rajpath, on the occasion of the 68th Republic Day Parade 2017

The naming of ranks of officers in the Coast Guard is as same as rank of Central Armed Police Forces. Officers are appointed in the Coast Guard in one of four branches, as either General-Duty officer, Pilot officer, Technical officer or Law officers. Lady Officers have two branches i.e. General-Duty Officer or Pilot Officer and serve on shore establishments/Air Stations/Headquarters. They are not deployed on board Indian Coast Guard ships.

Currently, officers of Indian Coast Guard undergo Basic Military Training at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala along with their counterparts of Indian Navy. This helps in the mutual interchange of Officers among these two sister services. While the Indian Coast Guard Academy is under construction in Mangaluru, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka.[32]

General-Duty Officers

The command of ships at sea can only be exercised by officers of the General-Duty (GD) branch. The key functions of a General-Duty Officer would be to operate weapons, sensors and different kinds of equipment on board a ship. The safety of the ship and the men would be GD officers responsibility. All the District Commanders (COMDIS) and Commander of Coast Guard Region (COMCG) appointments are exercised by a GD Officer of the Indian Coast Guard.

Pilot Officers

Pilot Officers are also part of GD branch. A Pilot Officer gets an opportunity to work at shore Air Stations along the Indian coasts and also embark ships. ICG operates fixed wing aircraft for surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone. In addition, helicopters are embarked on Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) to provide local surveillance and perform search and rescue mission at sea.

Technical Officers

Technical Officers are responsible for operation of advanced technology and sensor systems on board Coast Guard vessels and aircraft, as well as on shore installations. They also command the maintenance wings of the force.

Law Officers

Law Officers act as legal advisers to their respective commanders. They represent the Indian Coast Guard in legal actions filed by or against the organisation. They also perform the duties of trial law officers in Coast Guard courts, convened to try delinquent Coast Guard personnel. The Directorate of Law at Coast Guard Headquarters is headed by a Deputy Inspector-General and is designated as the Chief Law Officer. Section 115 of the Coast Guard Act, 1978 deals with the qualifications necessary to be appointed as the Chief Law Officer of Indian Coast Guard. Section 116 of the Coast Guard Act, 1978 defines the functions of the Chief Law Officer.[5]

Enrolled personnel[edit]

Enrolled personnel in the Coast Guard serve as either a yantrik (technician) or navik (sailor).[33]

  • Yantriks are responsible for operating and maintaining mechanical, electrical or aeronautical equipment and systems on board the Coast Guard vessels and aircraft.
  • Naviks may further serve in the General-Duty or Domestic branches. The General-Duty naviks serve as sailors, weapons systems operators, communication specialists, divers, etc. or in specific maritime or aviation support roles. Domestic branch naviks serve in roles such as stewards, cooks, etc. on board Coast Guard vessels.

Enrolled personnel of Indian Coast Guard are trained along with Indian Naval sailors at the naval training establishment INS Chilka. All training undertaken by Coast Guard personnel is the same as those undertaken by sailors in the Indian Navy. All personnel are trained in operation of weapons systems in cases of emergency.

Rank insignia[edit]

Rank group General/flag officers Senior officers Junior officers
 Indian Coast Guard[34]
Director general Additional director general Inspector general Deputy inspector general
(3-year seniority)
Deputy inspector general Commandant Commandant
(Junior Grade)
Deputy commandant Assistant commandant Assistant commandant
(under probation)

Other ranks
Rank group Junior commissioned officers Non commissioned officers Enlisted
 Indian Coast Guard[34]
No insignia
Pradhan Adhikari
Pradhan Sahayak Engineer
Uttam Adhikari
Uttam Sahayak Engineer
Sahayak Engineer
Pradhan Navik
Pradhan Yantrik
Uttam Navik
Uttam Yantrik


Current aircraft[edit]

Aircraft Picture Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Maritime patrol
Dornier 228  Germany
Maritime patrol 101/201[35] 36[36] 2 on order[37]
HAL Dhruv  India Utility Mk. I 4[38][39] 9 Mk.III on order[40][41]
Mk. III 16[42][43]
HAL Chetak  France
Utility 17[44]

Current vessels[edit]

Vessels belonging to the Indian Coast Guard bear the prefix "ICGS" – Indian Coast Guard Ship.

Class Picture Origin Type Commissioned Displacement Vessels Comment
Pollution control vessels (3)
Samudra class  India Pollution control vessel 2010–present 3,960 tons 3
Offshore patrol vessels (25)
Vikram class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2018–present 2,140 tons 7
Samarth class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2015–present 2,400 tons 11
Vishwast class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2010–present 1,800 tons 3
Sankalp class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2008–present 2,325 tons 2
Samar class  India Offshore patrol vessel 1996–present 1,800 tons 2 2 ships out of 4 decommissioned in November 2023
Fast Patrol vessels (44)
Aadesh class  India Fast patrol vessel 2013–present 290 tons 20
Rajshree class  India Fast patrol vessel 2012–present 275 tons 13 1 additional unit built for the Seychelles Coast Guard.[45][46]
Rani Abbaka class  India Fast patrol vessel 2009–present 275 tons 5
Sarojini Naidu class/Priyadarshini Class  India Fast patrol vessel 2002–present 270 tons 6 1 unit decommissioned on 27 April 2023. 2 additional units built for the National Coast Guard of Mauritius.
Patrol boats (82)
Bharati class  India Patrol boat 2013–present 107 tons 6 9 more to be commissioned
L&T class  India Fast interceptor boat 2012–present 90 tons 54
ABG class  India Fast interceptor boat 2000–present 90 tons 11
Patrol craft (14)
Timblo class  India Interceptor craft 2010–present 7 tons 10
Bristol class  India
Interceptor craft 2004–present 5 tons 4
Hovercraft (14)
Griffon class  UK India Hovercraft 2000–present 27 tons 18 6 H-181(Griffon 8000TD) and 12 H-187(Griffon 8000TD)[39]

Former vessels[edit]

Vessels belonging to the Indian Coast Guard bear the prefix "ICGS" – Indian Coast Guard Ship.

Class Picture Origin Type Commissioned Displacement Comment
Patrol vessels
Priyadarshini class  India Fast patrol vessel 1992–1998 215 tons All 8 decommissioned.[47][48][49]
Samar class  India Offshore patrol vessel 1996–present 1,800 tons 2 decommissioned, 2 still in service
Vikram class  India Offshore patrol vessel 1983–1992 1,220 tons 6 decommissioned, 1 lost, 2 transferred
Rajhans class  India Patrol vessel 1980–1987 200 tons All 5 have been decommissioned.[50]
Tara Bai class  India
Coastal patrol vessel 1987–1990 236 tons All 6 have been decommissioned.[51]
Blackwood class  United Kingdom Offshore patrol vessel 1978–1988 1,456 tons Former INS Kirpan and former INS Kuthar transferred from the Indian Navy in 1978. Kirpan decommissioned 1987,[52] Kuthar decommissioned September 1988.[53]

Future of the Indian Coast Guard[edit]

Future vessels[edit]

The following is a table of vessel classes which are either under construction or planned, but have not yet entered service.

Class Origin Type Commission (est.) Displacement Planned Comment
MDL-class Training Vessel  India Training vessel 1 Contract signed with MDL[54]
Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) class  India Pollution Control Vessel Nov 2024

May 2025

4,100 Tons[55] 2 Contract signed for ₹5.83 billion[56]
MDL-class NGOPV  India Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) May 2026 2,500 Tons 6 Contract signed with MDL.[57][58][59] Steel cutting of the first vessel done on 31 May 2024.[60]
FPV (New Generation) Class  India Fast patrol vessel 700 Tons 18 [61]
GSL-class Fast Patrol Vessel  India Fast patrol vessel 320 Tons 8 [61][62]
MDL-class Fast Patrol Vessel  India Fast patrol vessel 300 Tons 14 Contract signed with MDL on 24 January 2024. All to be delivered within 63 months[63][64][65]
 India Interceptor boats 22 [66]

Future aircraft[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Variant Planned Notes
Maritime patrol
Airbus C-295 Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA)  Europe
Maritime patrol C-295MPA 6[67] Ministry of Defence has given clearance for procurement of 6 C-295 MPA on 16 February 2024.[68]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]