Indian Ocean

Adopting Hi-Tech: Indian Navy’s Fusion Centre Will Better Detect, Deter Threats To India’s Maritime Security

Amitabh P Revi and Rohit Pandita New Delhi 22 December 2018

How to prevent small boats from being hijacked and used like in the 26/11 terror attacks? How to deal with beaching or sinking of vessels off the Mumbai coast as has happened before. How to deal with pirates attacking ships registered in one country, loaded in a second, bound for a third, with its Master from a fourth and with a crew from several other countries? How to warn small boats of a cyclone or conduct rescue and relief operations? The Indian Navy has taken another major step in handling such incidents with the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurating the Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram in the presence of Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, the US and Australian envoys and diplomatic and defence attaches. This has been done at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre(IMAC), which is the single point centre linking all coastal radar chains to give a seamless, real-time picture of India’s 7,500 kilometre-long coastline.

The IOR sees 66 percent of the world’s oil, 75 percent of the world’s maritime trade, 33 percent of bulk cargo and 50 percent of container shipments (over 1,00,000) ships transit through the IOR every year. The Navy’s eyes and ears have now got sharper to fight maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching. IMAC and IFC-IOR are tracking between 75,000-1,00,000 ships in real time and round the clock 24 hours. The aim is to collaborate with countries and organisations to share data and information on vessels in the sea.

The systems are only for tracking commercial ships not warships or sensitive vessels. For now, information is shared in the virtual world. Already over 10 countries including the USA, Japan, Australia and France have requested for Liaison Officers to be physically present at the IFC and more are expected to be given the green signal. SNI’s Associate Editor Amitabh P Revi spoke to Commodore K M Ramakrishnan for more on this partnership aimed at keeping the global commons open and accessible to all.

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  • The interview provides an excellent overview of the IFC -IOR.
    The preparedness of the Navy & the CG is well taken, especially in their respective traditional zones to cope with the threat from the sea – whether it be from the pirates or other adversaries. To make this effective – there was a proposal for setting up a National Maritime Advisory Board with the Maritime Adviser at the PMO.
    It is all very well designating the Navy as the nodal Agency for coastal defence – but its writ does not run that far. The infrastructure at IFC, IMAC & IN’s NC3IN etc are very competent along with the sophisticated surveillance means available with the IN & CG – to process and analyse all the intelligence inputs and plot the total scenario for projection to the action agencies on real time basis.
    Serious lacuna lies with the civilian elements of the coastal security architecture which has to provide the intelligence inputs ( HUMINT & Light House Coastal Radar stations etc) to Navy’s NC3IN / IMAC – which in turn generates an integrated domain picture to the operational authority (COP) for action. Responsibility for this lies with the respective coastal state authorities. Adequate financial provision has been made under CSS2005, CSS Phae I & II etc. The most glaring inadequacies lies with positioning of trained personnel for Coastal / Marine Police Force and institutional integrated organisational structure to ensure coordinated effort without which IN / CG is unable to deliver.

  • The interview provides an excellent overview of the IFC -IOR.
    The preparedness of the Navy & the CG is well taken, especially in their respective traditional zones to cope with the threat from the sea – whether it be from the pirates or other adversaries. To make this effective – there was a proposal for setting up a National Maritime Advisory Board with the Maritime Adviser at the PMO.
    It is all very well designating the Navy as the nodal Agency for coastal defence – but its writ does not run that far. The infrastructure at IFC, IMAC & IN’s NC3IN etc are very competent, along with the sophisticated surveillance means available with the IN & CG – to process and analyse all the intelligence inputs and plot the total scenario for projection to the operational agencies on real time basis.
    As far as inshore coastal defence is concerned – Serious lacuna lies with the civilian elements of the coastal security architecture which is required to provide the intelligence inputs ( HUMINT & Light House Coastal Radar stations etc) to Navy’s NC3IN / IMAC – which in turn, generates an integrated domain picture to the operational authority (COP) for action. Responsibility for this lies with the respective coastal state authorities. Adequate financial provision have been made under CSS2005, CSS Phae I & II etc. The most glaring inadequacies lies with positioning of trained personnel for Coastal / Marine Police Force and institutionally integrated organisational structure – to ensure coordinated effort, without which IN / CG are unable to deliver.

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