India pledges $2.5 mn assistance to Syria

Minister of State for External Affairs Shri E. Ahamed
 Thursday announced Government's pledge to donate US$ 2.5 million towards humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria. He was representing India at the ‘High-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria'.

This assistance would be in the form of life saving drugs, food and other essential items required by the people of Syria. 

He claimed that India had already processed humanitarian assistance to Syria in the form of life saving drugs and fortified biscuits. 

Expressing support to the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, Ahamed said, “Syria has, historically and in contemporary times, been an important country in the Middle East. Its role in the Middle East peace process and in the stability of the wider region is pivotal. Thus, prolonged instability or unrest in Syria will have serious ramifications for the region and beyond.”

He added that India had been closely following the developments in Syria. Syria continues to face acute crisis as the impasse has become explosive and could engulf the region.

India strongly expressed its concern on the steep escalation of violence and called upon all sides in Syria particularly the Syrian leadership to abjure violence and resolve all issues peacefully through discussions taking into account the aspirations of the people of Syria. He stressed on India’s position to prevent outside military intervention and that the peace process should be led by Syria itself. In this regard India supported the Geneva Communiqué which included the 6-Point Plan of Kofi Annan, and welcomed the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as the new Joint Special Envoy.

Expressing concerns about the hardships and sufferings of the people of Syria as a result of unabated violence in Syria, he said, “Thousands of people are being displaced internally and have also fled to neighbouring countries like Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. India welcomes and fully supports the initiative of UN to address the need of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people.”

He reiterated “urgent peaceful negotiations with participation of all parties taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians” as the only acceptable way to resolve the internal crisis in Syria.

The Indian Coast Guard for “Maritime Safety and Security”

The Indian Coast Guard today celebrates its 36th Anniversary; the service has grown into a multi-faceted and vibrant force, maintaining round the clock vigil in the Maritime Zones of India, by deploying its multi-role ships and aircraft.

Services which began with a modest inventory of two frigates seconded from the Indian Navy and five boats from the Customs Department, today contols a force level of 77 ships and 56 aircraft. During the past year, 01 Pollution Control Vessel, 06 Inshore Patrol Vessels, 04 Air Cushion Vessels and 02 Interceptor Boats have been inducted. In addition to the establishment of a Regional Headquarter (NE) and activation of 08 CG Stations, activation / commissioning of 03 CG Stations have been planned in early 2013.

The Indian Coast Guard today is rapidly expanding, with a large number of state-of-the-art ships, boats and aircraft under construction at various shipyards/ Public Sector units (PSUs), and a Coast Guard Academy will be established in the near future. The Coast Guard organizational structure is expected have five Regional Headquarters, 12 District Headquarters, 42 Stations and 15 Air Units functioning all along the Indian coast.

On the manpower front, the service has initiated several measures to augment its manpower namely introduction of short service appointment (SSA) for women officers in General Duty and General Duty (CPL holders) branches, departmental promotions of outstanding Subordinate Officers and conduct of special recruitments drives.

An average of 20 ships and 8-10 aircraft are tasked daily, to keep the vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and coastline under constant surveillance. The ICG has also set up the Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) that comprises of network of coastal surveillance radars and electro optic sensors at 46 remote sites, including 36 on the main land, 06 in Lakshadweep Islands and 04 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Regular community interaction programmes, with an aim to sensitize the fishing community with the prevalent security situation and to develop them to be “eyes and ears” for intelligence gathering, are being conducted by Indian Coast Guard in the fishing villages all along the coast. In addition, during the past year, the Indian Coast Guard conducted 20 coastal security exercises and 21 coastal security operations.

Maritime Search and Rescue in the Indian Search and Rescue Region is undertaken by the Indian Coast Guard round the clock. Untiring efforts under difficult conditions have resulted in saving of 204 lives in the last year. A total of 30 medical evacuations at sea were also undertaken by the ICG during this period.

The Indian Coast Guard is today recognized at the international level as the leading Coast Guard in the region. Institutionalized visits as per Memorandum of Cooperation/Understanding are being conducted regularly. The 12th Indo-Japan Coast Guard High Level Meeting was held on 21-24 Jan 13 at Tokyo. Japan The 8th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Meeting was held at New Delhi on 01-04 Oct 2012, which was significant, since this meeting was held for the first time in India. In addition, Indo-Pak Joint Working Group Meeting was at New Delhi held on 11-14 Jul 12, for the first time.

The Indian Coast Guard has been rapidly expanding and is witnessing all around development, in both capacity and capability. The theme of the Indian Coast Guard for the year 2013 is focused on ‘Maritime Safety and Security’ reflecting the commitment and resolve of the service.