With the noble purpose of protecting the Indian Maritime Zone and the lofty motto, “We Protect “, The Indian Coast Guard was established in 1978 as a branch of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Coast Guard protects the long coastal line of the country and also tends to the naval interests of India, within the oceanic territory of India as well as International Oceanic areas. It is well in the authority of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) to protect India's coastal boundaries and enforce maritime law.
The Indian Coast Guard was founded on 18th August 1978 by the enactment of the Coast Guard Act, 1978 and works under the Defence Department of the Union Defence Ministry.
In the course of discharging the various functions that have been conferred on it, the Indian Coast Guard operates in tandem with the Indian Navy, Department of Fisheries, Department of Revenue and Customs and the Central and State police forces since the Indian Coast Guard is basically a military force that guards the coastal territory of India. The head of ICG is the Director-General who is always a Naval Officer of the rank of Vice- Admiral on deputation (temporary posting for a defined period). However, there has been one exception when Dr. Prabhakaran Paleri headed the ICG as the Director General. All other Director Generals of the Indian Coast Guard have been Vice Admirals from the Indian Navy.
For operational and administrative control, the Indian Coast Guard is divided into four regions: Western Region with regional headquarters located in Mumbai, Eastern Region with regional headquarters located in Chennai and the Andaman & Nicobar Region with regional headquarters located in Port Blair and North West Region with regional headquarters located in Gandhinagar. The four regions are divided into districts, each district usually being one coastal state or union territory.
Each region is led by the Inspector General (IG) or the Deputy Inspector General (DIG). The regional heads; IG and DIG are appointed to the post and have graduated from the Indian Defence Service Colleges although that is not a necessary condition.
The motto and mission of the Indian Coast Guard is, “We Protect” (Vayam Rakshamah in Sanskrit).
- Safety, Search and Rescue of the national marine wealth.
- Protection of the oceanic ecosystem and surroundings.
- Help in scientific research and analysis by collection of scientific data related to the natural oceanic environment.
- Protection of national territory of India and ensuring obedience of law within Indian territorial areas and international ocean areas.
- Support the Indian Navy to defend the country whenever needed.