சனி, ஜனவரி 10, 2009

ISRO to develop vigilance satellite

CHENNAI: Plans are afoot to develop a low-cost satellite to monitor ships and small fishing vessels in Indian waters. The  developed by the shipping ministry in partnership with the developed by the shipping ministry in partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation, a top official of the shipping ministry said on Tuesday. 

Speaking at a seminar on MaritimeSecurity -- Issues and Challenges', organised by the directorate general of shipping and the Indian port associations, A P V N Sarma, secretary, shipping, said the department was in talks with ISRO for developing the satellite. 

Sarma also said the ministry was planning to form a special commando force specifically for the ports to counter any threats from the sea. He said fishing harbours located near the ports were an area of concern as they posed threats to vessels that entered the ports and it was necessary to keep these small fishing harbours away from the ports. The state governments should participate in the separation plan, he said, adding that the ministry had constituted a group to study the issue. 

Deputy national security advisor Shekhar Dutt, in his address, said there was a need to integrate land and maritime concerns. "We are looking at a plan for integrating maritime intelligence, an operation plan for responding to maritime threats, a strategy that could outreach and coordinate with international and regional maritime initiatives," he said. He added that this would encompass detection, detention, investigation and prosecution. 

"There is a need to make a distinction between a legitimate and illegitimate presence at sea and has to be done in real time," Dutt said. This, he said, would entail isolation of a suspected vessel, identification of its exact location and taking action. "To make this possible, we have to link inputs of Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system through satellite based identification. "An Automatic Identification System is therefore an essential step," he said.

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