India Aims at $250 Billion Maritime Economy by 2024: Defense Secretary

BY Tiya Chatterji january 13, 2020

India is looking at a USD 250 billion maritime economy by 2024, which the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has the responsibility to safeguard, Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar said on January 12. India's exclusive economic zone in the seas along its 7,500-kilometre coastline comprises over 2 million square kilometers, he said.

"With a target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, we are looking at over USD 250 billion coming from the maritime zone."It is this USD 250 billion economy that the ICG has the responsibility to protect and safeguard," Kumar said after commissioning coast guard ships 'ICGS Amrit Kaur' and 'ICGS Annie Besant' which will be deployed along the eastern coast.

With the depletion of land resources, economic activities are increasingly getting focused on the oceans. The maritime economy constitutes nearly five per cent of the world economy, Kumar said. Commissioning the two ICG fast patrol vessels designed and manufactured by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) here, Kumar said India is increasingly becoming self-reliant in the science of shipbuilding."Most of our ships today are over 70 per cent indigenous and some of the latest platforms are over 90 per cent indigenous," he said.

"Incidents like 26/11 Mumbai terror attack have made it incumbent upon all agencies, be it ICG, Navy, marine police and all other stakeholders to synergize resources and also to make greater use of technology in the interest of the country," he said. He said the ICG, along with the Indian Navy, has the onerous responsibility of ensuring that maritime zones of India remain safe and secure not only to ensure economic progress but also to counter dynamic security challenges emanating from the sea. ICG Director General K Natarajan said that coastal surveillance has substantially increased since 26/11.