Indian Coast Guard

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Indian Coast Guard
भारतीय तटरक्षक
Bharatiya Tatrakshak
Indian Coast Guard Logo.jpg
Indian Coast Guard crest
Active 1978–Present
Country India
Type Coast Guard
Size 10,440 active personnel
134 vessels
60 aircraft
Headquarters New Delhi
Motto वयम् रक्षामः (Sanskrit: We Shall Protect)
Anniversaries Coast Guard Day: 1 February
  • 2 Pollution control vessels
  • 14 Offshore patrol vessels
  • 37 Patrol boats
  • 27 Patrol craft
  • 10 Hovercraft
Director General Vice Admiral H. C. S. Bisht, AVSM
Additional Director General ADG(CG) Rajendra Singh, PTM, TM
Coast Guard Commander (Western Seaboard) ADG Surinder Pal Singh Basra, YSM, PTM, TM[1]
Ensign Indian Coast Guard flag.png
Aircraft flown

HAL Chetak

HAL Dhruv
Patrol Dornier Do 228

The Indian Coast Guard (Hindi: भारतीय तटरक्षक, Bhāratīya Taṭarakṣaka) (ICG) protects India's maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone. The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent Armed force of India . It operates under the Ministry of Defence.[2]

The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces.


The establishment of the Indian Coast Guard was first proposed by the Indian Navy to provide non-military maritime services to the nation.[3] 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 in order 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.[3]

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.[3]

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.

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.[3]

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 was 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.[4] It was the first successful prosecution of armed pirates in over a century.

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 Pakistan's 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 is expected to be tripled between 2010 and 2019 in manpower, vessels and aircraft.[5][6]


Current role[edit]

Coast Guard Office 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:[7]

  • 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:[8]

  • 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).
  • 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 four deputy director generals of the rank of inspector general, and other senior officers heading various staff divisions. The current Director General is Vice Admiral HCS Bhist, AVSM.[9]

The Indian Coast Guard has recently got its first three-star rank officer ADG Rajendra Singh Additional director general, PTM, TM, who has the distinction of being the first regular direct entry officer of the Indian Coast Guard to be promoted to the rank of ADG on 11 Jan 2013. Additional director general of Indian coast guard is equivalent to vice admiral of Indian Navy.[10]

The ICG as of now is headed by a naval officer of the rank of Vice Admiral on deputation to the Coast Guard as a direct entry Coast Guard Officer is yet to reach the age/service to become equivalent to Vice Admiral as it is the youngest of all the all Armed Forces started in the 1970s. Two of the director generals (the 12th and 16th), Director General of Indian Coast Guard Rameshwar Singh DG, PTM and Director General of Indian Coast Guard Dr Prabhakaran Paleri DG, PTM, TM, were career Coast Guard officers, in the sense that they were Indian Navy officers on permanent secondment to the Indian Coast Guard.[11] DG Rameshwar Singh had spent twenty years in the Indian Navy, before he was seconded permanently to the Indian Coast Guard. His tenure lasted for six months, between March 2001, and September 2001. Dr Prabhakaran Paleri, DG was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1969, and permanently seconded to the Coast Guard in 1981.[12] His tenure lasted for five months, from February 2006 to August 2006.[13]

The Indian Coast Guard operates five regions. 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 regions Regional HQ location Regional commander
Western Region (W) Mumbai IG Surinder Pal Singh Basra, YSM, PTM, TM
Eastern Region (E) Chennai IG Satya Prakash Sharma, PTM, TM
North-East Region (NE) Kolkata IG VSR Murthy, PTM, TM
Andaman & Nicobar Region (A&N) Port Blair IG K Natarajan, PTM, TM
North-West Region (NW) Gandhinagar IG Kuldip Singh Sheoran, TM

By the end of 2012, the Indian Coast Guard is on track to operate:[14]

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


Officer Rank Structure[edit]

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

Indian Coast Guard Ranks Indian Army Ranks Indian Navy Ranks Indian Air Force Ranks
Director General (Vice Admiral {FOC-in-C's Scale} on deputation from Indian Navy) Lieutenant General (GOC-in-C's Scale) Vice Admiral (FOC-in-C's Scale) Air Marshal (AOC-in-C's Scale)
Additional Director General (HAG+ Scale) Lieutenant General (HAG+ Scale) Vice Admiral (HAG+ Scale) Air Marshal (HAG+ Scale)
Additional Director General (HAG Scale) Lieutenant General (HAG Scale) Vice Admiral (HAG Scale) Air Marshal (HAG Scale)
Inspector General Major General Rear Admiral Air Vice Marshal
Deputy Inspector General Brigadier Commodore Air Commodore
Commandant Colonel Captain Group Captain
Commandant (Junior Grade) Lt. Colonel Commander Wing Commander
Deputy Commandant Major Lt. Commander Sqdn. Leader
Assistant Commandant(2 year service) Captain Lieutenant Flight Lieutenant
Assistant Commandant Lieutenant Sub Lieutenant Flying Officer

Coast Guard officers[edit]

The naming of ranks of officers in the Coast Guard is as same as rank of Central Armed Police Forces. The director general Coast Guard is usually a Vice Admiral ranked officer on deputation from the Indian Navy.[15][16] Officers are commissioned 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.[17]

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 Azhikkal, Kannur district, Kerala.[18]

General Duty officers[edit]

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.[19] All the District Commanders (COMDIS) and Commander of Coast Guard Region (COMCG) appointments are exercised by a GD Officer of the Indian Coast Guard. GD officers are graduates in Science or Engineering.

Pilot officers[edit]

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.[19] Pilot officers are graduates in Science or Engineering.

Technical officers[edit]

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. Technical officers are graduates in Engineering.

Law officers[edit]

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.

Enrolled personnel[edit]

Enrolled personnel in the Coast Guard serve as either a yantrik (technician) or navik (sailor).[17]

  • 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.


A Vishwast-class offshore patrol vessel

Current aircraft[edit]

The Indian Coast Guard operates a fleet of:

Current vessels[edit]

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

Class Origin Type Commissioned Displacement Vessels Comment
Pollution control vessels (2)
Samudra-class  India Pollution control vessel 2010–present 3,300 tons 2 1 more to be commissioned.
Offshore patrol vessels (15)
Samarth-class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2015-present 2,400 tons 1 5 more to be commissioned.
Vishwast-class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2010–present 1,800 tons 3
Samar-class  India Offshore patrol vessel 1996–present 2,300 tons 6
Vikram-class  India Offshore patrol vessel 1983–present 1,220 tons 5
Patrol vessels (48)
Aadesh-class  India Patrol vessel 2013–present 290 tons 14 6 more to be commissioned.
Rajshree-class  India Patrol vessel 2012–present 275 tons 8
Rani Abbaka-class  India Patrol vessel 2009–present 275 tons 3[20] 2 more to be commissioned.
Sarojini Naidu-class  India Patrol vessel 2002–present 270 tons 7
Priyadarshini-class  India Patrol vessel 1992–present 215 tons 8
Tara Bai-class  India
Patrol vessel 1987–present 236 tons 6
Rajhans-class  India Patrol vessel 1980–present 200 tons 2 3 have been decommissioned.
Patrol boats (37)
Bharati-class  India Patrol boat 2013–present 65 tons 2 13 more to be commissioned.(May 2015)
L&T-class  India Patrol boat 2012–present 90 tons 25 19 more to be commissioned.(March 2015)
ABG-class  India Patrol boat 2000–present 90 tons 13
AMP-class  India
 United Kingdom
Patrol boat 1993–present 44 tons 8 1 decommissioned. 1 leased to Mauritius.
Swallow Craft-class  South Korea Patrol boat 1980–present 32 tons 4 2 decommissioned. 2 stricken.
Patrol craft (27)
Timblo-class  India Patrol craft 2010–present 7 tons 10
Bristol-class  India
 United Kingdom
Patrol craft 2004–present 5 tons 4
Vadyar-class  India Patrol craft 1988–present 2 tons 8
Mandovi Marine-class  India Patrol boat 1980s-present? 10 tons 5? Status unknown.
Hovercraft (18)
Griffon-class  United Kingdom Hovercraft 2000–present 27 tons 18

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
Samarth-class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2015-onward 2,400 tons 6 3 Launched. 1 commsisioned.
Pipavav-class  India Offshore patrol vessel 2,500 tons 4
L&T-class  India Offshore patrol vessel 7
HSL-class  India Patrol boat 2015-onward 8
Timblo-class II  India Patrol boat 2013-onward 15 tons 30 Cancelled

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Additional Director General: SPS Basra, YSM, PTM, TM". Indian Coast Guard. India Ministry of Defense. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "About the Ministry". Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d "History". Indian Coast Guard. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  4. ^ "Alondra Rainbow revisited, A Study of related issues in the light of the recent judgment of Mumbai High Court". South Asia Analysis Group. 13 May 2005. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Indian Coast Guard to triple by 2020". 31 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  6. ^ "Antony clears several proposals to augment coastal security". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 20 December 2008. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  7. ^ "Mission". Indian Coast Guard. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Indian Coast Guard". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Indian Coast Guard Gets First 3-Star officer". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Coast Guard's New Director General". Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  12. ^ Social Post (1 March 2006). "Prabhakar Paleri new Director General of Coast Guard". Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  13. ^ "Directors General". Indian Coast Guard. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  14. ^ "The Indian Coast Guard – "Committed to Serve – Making a Difference"". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  15. ^ "Rank And Pay Structure". Indian Coast Guard. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  16. ^ "Nausena Bharti". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Careers in Indian Coast Guard". Indian Coast Guard. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  18. ^ "First Coast Guard academy in Kannur". The Hindu. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ "India commissions third Rani Abbakka-class inshore patrol vessel". IHS Jane's Defense and Secturity. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 

External links[edit]