India’s concerns regarding maritime security primarily arise from threats in the Indian Ocean, which directly impact its maritime interests. While these threats affect other regional stakeholders as well, India’s responsibility for securing the Indian Ocean region magnifies the impact on its security.

Maritime Security Challenges in India:

1. Traditional Threats to India’s Maritime Security:

  • Pakistan’s Concept of Operations in the Arabian Sea: Pakistan’s Maritime Doctrine, “Preserving Freedom of Seas,” considers the north Arabian Sea as its primary area of interest. The doctrine emphasizes the use of submarines to disrupt enemy sea lines of communication (SLOCs) and dominate the war theater.
  • Proactive Presence of Chinese Maritime Assets: Since 2013, the deployment pattern of Chinese PLA Navy submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), particularly the Arabian Sea, includes extended durations of three to four months.

2. Non-Traditional Maritime Security Challenges:

  • Non-traditional maritime challenges stem from non-military sources but pose significant risks to the state and its people.

3. These challenges include:

  • State-supported acts of non-State rogue elements at or from the sea: Examples include marine terrorism involving armed robbery to finance terror activities.
  • Non-traditional security challenges of human making: These challenges encompass piracy, hostage-taking for ransom, armed robbery, drug-running, human trafficking, environmental pollution, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The proximity to the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle exacerbates these problems.
  • Non-traditional security challenges arising from natural causes: Natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis, rising sea levels due to global warming, land inundation, salination of soil and water in coastal areas.

Organizational, Technical, and Procedural Initiatives to Improve Maritime Security:
1. Organizational Measures:

  • The National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS) coordinates all matters related to Maritime and Coastal Security.
  • Joint Operations Centres (JOCs) established by the Navy serve as command and control hubs for coastal security in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, and Port Blair.
  • Enhanced inter-agency coordination facilitated by regular exercises conducted by the Navy in coastal states.

2. Technical Measures:

  • Coastal surveillance through a chain of 74 Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers to provide comprehensive coverage along the entire coast.
  • Coastal areas equipped with a chain of 46 overlapping coastal radars.

3. Procedural Measures:

  • National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network (NC3I) collates data on ships, dhows, fishing boats, and other vessels operating near the coast from multiple sources.
  • The Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) disseminates a compiled Common Operating Picture for Coastal Security to Navy and Coast Guard nodes across India’s coast.
  • ID cards issued to fishermen, maintaining a centralized database, registering fishing vessels, and equipping boats with suitable equipment for identification and tracking.
  • Maritime training provided by the Navy and Coast Guard to marine police in coastal states.


The Mumbai terror attack of November 2008, commonly referred to as “26/11,” demonstrated the grave threat posed by terrorists exploiting unregulated seas. This incident highlights the urgent need for enhanced maritime security as interconnected economies face significant contemporary risks.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish January 29, 2024