Maritime Security of India

Maritime Security of India is faced with multiple and complex security and strategic challenges. There is political turmoil and instability in the immediate neighbourhood. These have a direct impact on India’s security. India would have to proactively shape the strategic environment in her area of interest for her to be counted as a predominant power.


  • To deter conflict and coercion against India.
  • To conduct maritime military operations in a manner that enables early termination of conflict on terms favourable to India.
  • To shape a favourable and positive maritime environment, for enhancing net security in India’s areas of maritime interest.
  • To protect Indian coastal and offshore assets against attacks and threats emanating from or at sea.
  • To develop requisite maritime force levels and maintain capability for meeting India’s maritime security requirements.

Maritime Security | Areas of Interest

Primary Areas

  • India’s coastal areas and maritime zones, including coastline, islands, internal sea waters, territorial waters, contiguous zone, EEZ and continental shelf.
  • Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea, and their littoral regions.
  • Persian Gulf and its littoral, which is source of majority of our oil supplies and gas imports, and is home to more than seven million expatriate Indians.
  • Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and their littoral regions.
  • South-West Indian Ocean, including IOR island nations therein and East Coast of Africa littoral regions.
  • Choke points leading to, from and across Indian Ocean, including Six degree Channel; Eight/Nine-degree Channels; Straits of Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandeb, Malacca, Singapore, Sunda and Lombok; Mozambique Channel, and Cape of Good Hope and their littoral regions.
  • Other areas encompassing our SLOCs, and vital energy and resource interests.

Secondary Areas

  • South-East Indian Ocean, including sea routes to the Pacific Ocean and littoral regions in vicinity.
  • South and East China Seas, Western Pacific Ocean, and their littoral regions.
  • Southern Indian Ocean Region, including Antarctica.
  • Mediterranean Sea, West Coast of Africa, and their littoral regions.
  • Other areas of national interest based on considerations of Indian diaspora, overseas investments and political relations.

Threats :

Traditional Threats and Sources :

Refer to states with organized military capability and resources, which harbour adversarial posture and inimical intent towards India.

Non-Traditional Threats and Sources

  • Maritime Terrorism
  • Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea
  • Unregulated Activities at Sea – This may be experienced within the EEZ, especially for nations with a large EEZ and relatively smaller maritime forces.
  • Trafficking/ Smuggling.
  • Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU).
  • Proliferation of Private Armed Security.
  • Climate Change and Natural Disasters

Maritime Security  | Critical Common Requirements

Certain aspects overlap and others remain common.

  • Maritime Domain Awareness.
  • Force Structures and Capabilities.
  • Preparedness and Presence.
  • Networked Operations.
  • Jointness and Coordination.
  • Strategic Communication.

India’s Deterrence Strategy

Nuclear Deterrence Based on maintenance of a credible minimum deterrent, with assurance of massive nuclear retaliation designed to inflict unacceptable damage, in response to a nuclear strike against India.

Conventional Deterrence Requires maintenance of suitable combat power for exercising both methods of deterrence, viz. by denial and by punishment.

Main Components of Maritime Security Strategy for Deterrence :

  • Force Structure and Capabilities.
  • Threat Assessment and Contingency Planning.
  • Strategic Situational Awareness and Maritime Domain Awareness.
  • Preparedness and Presence.
  • Strategic Communication.
  • Operational Principles

Strategic Effects Sought :

  • Repulsion of aggression.
  • Management of escalation.
  • Degradation of the threats emanating from conflict.
  • Imposition of punitive costs.
  • Psychological dominance.
  • Creation of military conditions for an early and favourable conclusion of conflict.
  • Protection of national maritime interests.
  • Preparedness for Conflict.

Contingency Planning

  • Human resource development, including adequate and realistic training, for the full spectrum of maritime operations.
  • Higher operational availability and readiness of combat forces.
  • Suitable weapons and arming policies.
  • Sufficient stock of munitions and combat spares for sustaining the envisaged tempo, scale, intensity and duration of conflict.
  • Quick and dispersed Operational Turn Round (OTR) capability.
  • Improved operational logistics and replenishment capability at sea.
  • Maintain presence in areas of interest, to develop MDA, obtain familiarity with the operational environment, and enable quick response to any crisis.
  • Augment means and improve preparedness through the strategy for force and capability development.

Principles of Net Maritime Security

  • Preservation of Peace.
  • Promotion of Stability.
  • Maintenance of Security.

Actions for Net Maritime Security

  • Presence and Rapid Response.
  • Maritime Engagement.
  • Capacity Building and Capability Enhancement.
  • Develop Regional MDA.
  • Maritime Security Operations.
  • Strategic Communication for Net Maritime Security.

Presence and Rapid Response

Both independently and in coordination with friendly foreign maritime forces

  • Presence and Surveillance Mission (PSM).
  • Patrol
  • Overseas Deployment (OSD).

Maritime Engagement

  • Port Visits.
  • Personnel Exchanges.
  • Staff Talks and Interactions.
  • Exercises with Foreign Navies.
  • Maritime Assistance.
  • Operational Interactions.
  • High-Level Maritime Strategic Interactions.

Maritime Security Operations

  • EEZ Surveillance and Patrols.
  • Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT).
  • Anti-Piracy Operations.
  • Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations.
  • Non-combatant Evacuation Operations.
  • Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO).
  • Peace Support Operations (PSO).
  • Maritime Search and Rescue (M-SAR).

Developing Coastal and Off-shore Security Mechanisms

  • Coastal and Offshore Security Framework.
  • Coastal and Offshore Maritime Domain Awareness.
  • Coastal Community Participation.
  • Coordinated Presence and Patrol.
  • Coordinated Operational Response.
  • Cooperative Capability Development.
  • Maritime Governance.

Agencies for Coordinated Patrol

  • State Marine Police: Responsible for patrolling inner layer from coastline upto territorial waters, in coordination with Customs, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and respective port authorities, as relevant.
  • Indian Coast Guard: Patrols maritime zones of India, and supports State Marine Police within inner layer as required.
  • Indian Navy: Supports Indian Coast Guard within maritime zones as required, and provides presence, including surveillance and patrol, on high seas beyond EEZ. Also undertakes patrolling in ODA, and its Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) specialised force undertakes patrolling of naval harbours.

Maritime Governance

Multiple Agencies and Functions: National apex level policy and review of maritime security, covering all maritime agencies and domains, is undertaken through ‘National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security against Threats from Sea’ (NCSMCS), constituted under chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary in 2009. This has representatives from all ministries, departments, and organizations concerned in Government of India, as well as Chief Secretaries/Administrators and senior police officials of coastal states and UTs.

Force Levels and capability development

  • Indigenisation for Self-Reliance and Self-Sufficiency.
  • Standardisation and Modularity.
  • Maritime Domain Awareness.
  • Network Centric Operations.
  • Enhanced Reach and Sustainability.
  • Power Projection and Sea Control.
  • Force Protection.
  • Joint Operations.
  • Special Forces Operations.
  • Force Maintenance.
  • Infrastructure and Logistics.
  • New and Evolving Technologies.

New and Evolving Technologies

  • Future Satellites.
  • Precision Weapon Technologies.
  • Electromagnetic and Laser Technologies.
  • Propulsion and Power Technology.
  • Unmanned Marine Systems.
  • Computation and Automation Technologies.
  • Cyber Security Technologies.
  • Green Technologies.
  • Nano-Technology.

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