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30 June, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Increasing the Coast Guard’s capacity

An aviation wing of the paramilitary Coast Guard with a good number of helicopters was an imperative for long
Increasing the Coast Guard’s capacity

It is good to know that the government is going for capacity building of Bangladesh Coast Guard to boost the country’s maritime security. As the country has a formally recognised maritime territory now after disputes over it with Myanmar and India was settled in the international court, strengthening and increasing the ability of the Coast Guard has become a crucial need. In fact, we in this column several times urged the government to increase the capacity of the Coast Guard.
   Thus the government’s strategic plan of a short, mid and long-term two-dimensional (sea and air) coastal force, as a Tuesday’s Independent report mentioned, is welcome. According to the plan, a “long-range identification and tracking (LRTI) and vessel trafficking monitoring and information system (VTMIS) by 2025" would be installed and the coastal force has been proposed to function under three regional headquarters.  
An aviation wing of the paramilitary Coast Guard with a good number of helicopters was an imperative for long as there are insurgency movements along the border particularly with Myanmar. There are also the problems of sea piracy as well as illegal migration along the sea routes.
According to the report, the maritime force would initially procure 10 helicopters and a good number of vessels for various purposes, different boats for patrolling, diving and combat. This can support the Bangladesh Navy during any emergency situation. It is expected that this strategic plan of the coastal force would receive necessary approval from the home and foreign ministries where it has been sent.
Smuggling of narcotics as well as arms along the border is a very disturbing phenomenon and effective cooperation between the Border Guards of Bangladesh and the Coast Guard is very vital to stop smuggling. Moreover, as the capacity of the Coast Guard was limited for patrolling the sea, the Indian as well as Myanmar’s fishermen enter Bangladesh’s maritime zone and catch fish illegally. Even Thai fishermen enter Bangladesh’s sea to rob our green resources.          
Bangladesh now has a Coast Guard Act, 2016 to make it a modern and digital paramilitary coastal force. To protect the country’s integrity and reap the benefits of its green economy, we need to have an efficient coastal paramilitary force like India. Since  Myanmar is going to have radar surveillance along its coast, the coastal force of Bangladesh cannot remain behind in this regard. It is expected that step by step, through the short-, mid- and long-term plan, the Coast Guard would become a full fledged two-dimensional force.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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