Indian Coast Guard


Indian Coast Guard
Indian Coast Guard Logo.svg
Indian Coast Guard crest
Founded18 August 1978; 42 years ago (1978-08-18)
TypeCoast Guard
RoleLaw enforcement, coastal patrol, marine border protection, marine search and rescue.
Size15,714 active personnel[1]
197 vessels
44 aircraft
HeadquartersMinistry of Defence, New Delhi
Motto(s)वयम् रक्षामः (Sanskrit)
Vayam Rakṣāmaḥ (ISO)
transl. 'We protect'[2]
AnniversariesCoast Guard Day: 1 February
Director GeneralDirector General Krishnaswamy Natarajan, PTM, TM[3]
Additional Director GeneralAdditional Director General V. D. Chafekar, PTM, TM[4]
Coast Guard Commander (Western Seaboard)Additional Director General R. Bargotra, PTM, TM[5]
Coast Guard Commander (Eastern Seaboard)Additional Director General Virender Singh Pathania, PTM, TM[6]
EnsignIndian Coast Guard flag.svg
Racing stripeIndian Coast Guard racing stripe.svg
Aircraft flown
HelicopterHAL Chetak
HAL Dhruv
PatrolDornier Do 228

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is an Armed Force, Search and Rescue and Maritime Law Enforcement agency that protects India's maritime interests and enforces its maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone. The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India.[7] It operates under the Ministry of Defence.[8]

The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces.


The establishment of the Indian Coast Guard was first proposed by the Indian Navy to provide non-military maritime services to the nation.[9] In the 1960s, sea-borne smuggling of goods was threatening India's domestic economy. The Indian Customs Department frequently called upon the Indian Navy for assistance with patrol and interception in the anti-smuggling effort.

The Nagchaudhuri Committee was constituted with participation from the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force to study the problem. In August 1971, the committee identified the requirement to patrol India's vast coastline, set up a registry of offshore fishing vessels in order to identify illegal activity, and establish a capable and well-equipped force to intercept vessels engaged in illegal activities. The committee also looked at the number and nature of the equipment, infrastructure and personnel required to provide those services.[9]

SS Nautilus, a ship used by Royal Indian Navy to patrol Indian coasts during World War II

By 1973, India had started a programme to acquire the equipment and started deputing personnel from the Indian Navy for these anti-smuggling and law enforcement tasks, under the provisions of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act. The Indian Navy sensed that the law enforcement nature of these duties diverged from its core mission as a military service. Admiral Sourendra Nath Kohli, then Chief of Naval Staff, hence made a recommendation to the Defence Secretary outlining the need for a separate maritime service to undertake those duties and offering the Navy's assistance in its establishment. On 31 August 1974, the Defence Secretary submitted a note to the Cabinet Secretary proposing cabinet action on Admiral Kohli's recommendation.

As a result, in September 1974, the Indian cabinet set up the Rustamji Committee, under the chairmanship of Khusro Faramurz Rustamji, with participation from the Navy, the Air Force and the Department of Revenue to examine gaps in security and law enforcement between the roles of the Indian Navy and the central and state police forces. The discovery of oil off Bombay High further emphasised the need for a maritime law enforcement and protection service. The committee submitted its recommendation for the establishment of the Indian Coast Guard under the Ministry of Defence on 31 July 1975. Bureaucratic wrangling followed, with the Cabinet Secretary making a recommendation to place the service under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi overruled the Cabinet Secretary and decided to accept the original recommendation of the Rustamji Committee to place the service under the Ministry of Defence.[9]

An interim Indian Coast Guard came into being on 1 February 1977, equipped with two small corvettes and five patrol boats transferred from the Navy. The duties and functions of the service were formally defined in the Coast Guard Act, which was passed by India's parliament on 18 August 1978 and came into immediate effect.[7]

Vice Admiral V. A. Kamath of the Indian Navy was appointed the founding Director-General. Prime Minister Morarji Desai inspected the Guard of Honour at the service's inauguration. Vice Admiral Kamath proposed a five-year plan to develop the ICG into a potent force by 1984, but the full potential of this plan was not immediately realised due to an economic resource crunch.[9]

One of the historic operational successes of the ICG occurred in October 1999, with the recapture at high seas of a Panamanian-registered Japanese cargo ship, MV Alondra Rainbow, hijacked off Indonesia. Her crew were rescued off Phuket, Thailand. The ship had been repainted as MV Mega Rama, and was spotted off Kochi, heading towards Pakistan. She was chased by ICGS Tarabai and INS Prahar (K98) of the Indian Navy, and apprehended.[10] It was the first successful prosecution of armed pirates in over a century.

Indian Coast Guard ship and helicopter during the Search and Rescue Workshop and Exercise (SAREX), 2014

The Indian Coast Guard conducts exercises with the other coast guards of the world. In May 2005, the ICG agreed to establish liaison links with Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency (PMSA). In 2006, the Indian Coast Guard conducted exercises with its Japanese and Korean counterparts.

After the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Indian government initiated a programme to expand the ICG force, assets and infrastructure.

The force aims to have 200 ships and 100 twin-engined aircraft by 2023 in its fleet.[11]

Present scenario

Current role

Coast Guard DHQ-4 Headquarters in Kochi, Kerala

The Indian Coast Guard's motto is "वयम रक्षामः" (Vayam Rakshamah), which translates from Sanskrit as "We Protect".

Missions of Indian Coast Guard:[12]

  • Safety and protection of artificial islands, offshore terminals and other installations
  • Protection and assistance to fishermen and mariners at sea
  • Preservation and protection of marine ecology and environment including pollution control
  • Assistance to the Department of Customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations
  • Law enforcement in territorial as well as international waters
  • Scientific data collection and support
  • National defence during hostilities (under the operational control of the Indian Navy)

Additional responsibilities of the Indian Coast Guard:[13]

  • Offshore Security Coordination Committee (OSCC) – The Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard is the Chairman of OSCC constituted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).
  • National Maritime Search and Rescue Coordinating Authority (NMSARCA) – The Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard is the NMSARCA for executing / coordinating search and rescue (SAR) missions
  • Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) – For coastal and sea borders
  • Coastal Security – The Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard is the commander of coastal command and is responsible for overall coordination between central and state agencies in all matters relating to coastal security

Leadership and organisation

The Indian Coast Guard organisation is headed by the Director-General (DG ICG) who is located at Coast Guard Headquarters (CGHQ), New Delhi. At CGHQ, he is assisted by four Deputy Director-Generals of the rank of Inspector-General, and other senior officers heading various staff divisions. The current Director-General is Krishnaswamy Natarajan, PTM, TM.[14]

Director-General of Indian Coast Guard is equivalent to Vice Admiral of Indian Navy.[15]

The Indian Coast Guard operates five regions. Each region is headed by an officer of the rank of Inspector-General. Each of the regions is further divided into multiple districts, typically covering a coastal state or a union territory.

Coast Guard regions Regional HQ location Regional commander
Western Region (W) Mumbai IG AP Badola[16]
Eastern Region (E) Chennai IG Parmesh Sivamani, PTM, TM[17][18]
North-East Region (NE) Kolkata IG AK Harbola , TM[19]
Andaman & Nicobar Region (A&N) Port Blair IG Maneesh V Pathak, TM[20]
North-West Region (NW) Gandhinagar IG Rakesh Pal, PTM, TM[21]

By the end of 2012, the Indian Coast Guard is on track to operate:[22]

  • 42 Coast Guard Stations
  • 5 Coast Guard Air Stations
  • 10 Coast Guard Air Enclaves

List of Coast Guard stations

There are currently 42 Coast Guard stations which have been established along the coastline of the country. Presently, there is no proposal for setting-up more Coast Guard Stations.[23]

Regional HQ District HQ Coast Guard Station
North-East Region (NE) CGRHQ Kolkata CGAE Kolkata
ICGS Kolkata
DHQ-7 Paradip CGAE Bhubaneswar
ICGS Gopalpur
DHQ-8 Haldia ICGS Frazerganj
Eastern Region (E) CGRHQ Chennai DHQ-13 Puducherry ICGS Thoothukudi
ICGS Mandapam
ICGS Puducherry
DHQ-5 Chennai CGAS Chennai
ICGS Karaikal
DHQ-6 Visakhapatnam ICGS Kakinada
ICGS Nizampatnam[24]
ICGS Krishnapatnam
CGAE Visakhapatnam (Proposed)[25][26]
Andaman & Nicobar Region (A&N) CGRHQ Port Blair CGAE Port Blair
DHQ-14 Port Blair ICGS Port Blair
ICGS Hutbay
DHQ-9 Diglipur ICGS Mayabunder[27]
ICGS Diglipur
DHQ-10 Campbell Bay ICGS Campbell Bay
ICGS Kamorta
Western Region (W) CGRHQ Mumbai DHQ-3 New Mangaluru ICGS Karwar[28]
CGAE New Mangaluru[29]
DHQ-2 Mumbai ICGS Murud Janjira
ICGS Ratnagiri
ICGS Dahanu
DHQ-4 Kochi ICGS Vizhinjam
ICGS Beypore
CGAE Kochi
DHQ-11 Goa ICGS Goa
DHQ-12 Kavaratti ICGS Kavaratti
ICGS Minicoy
ICGS Androth
CGAS Daman
North-West Region (NW) CGRHQ Gandhinagar ICGS Gandhinagar
DHQ-1 Porbandar ICGS Pipavav
ICGS Jakhau
ICGS Mundra
ICGS Veraval
ICGS Vadinar
CGAE Porbandar


Officer rank structure

A table showing the rank structure of Coast Guard officers with those of the other Indian armed services.[30]

Indian Coast Guard Ranks Indian Army Ranks Indian Navy Ranks Indian Air Force Ranks
- General Admiral Air Chief Marshal
Director-General /Additional Director-General Lieutenant General Vice Admiral Air Marshal
Inspector-General Major General Rear Admiral Air Vice Marshal
Deputy Inspector-General Brigadier Commodore Air Commodore
Commandant Colonel Captain Group Captain
Commandant (Junior Grade) Lt Colonel Commander Wing Commander
Deputy Commandant Major Lt Commander Squadron Leader
Assistant Commandant (2 Years) Captain Lieutenant Flight Lieutenant
Assistant Commandant Lieutenant Sub Lieutenant Flying Officer

Ranks and Insignia of Indian Coast Guard Officers

NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
 Indian Coast Guard[31] No equivalent
Officer Insignia ICG 10.jpg Officer Insignia ICG 08.jpg Officer Insignia ICG 06.jpg US Navy O6 shoulderboard.svg US Navy O5 shoulderboard.svg US Navy O4 shoulderboard.svg US Navy O3 shoulderboard.svg US Navy O1 shoulderboard.svg N/A
Director General/
Additional Director General
Inspector General Deputy Inspector General
(3-year seniority)
Deputy Inspector General Commandant Deputy Commandant Assistant Commandant Assistant Commandant
(under probation)
Assistant Commandant
(after phase II)

Coast Guard officers

The Coast Guard Marching Contingent passes through the Rajpath, on the occasion of the 68th Republic Day Parade 2017

The naming of ranks of officers in the Coast Guard is as same as rank of Central Armed Police Forces. Officers are appointed in the Coast Guard in one of four branches, as either General-Duty officer, Pilot officer, Technical officer or Law officers. Lady Officers have two branches i.e. General-Duty Officer or Pilot Officer and serve on shore establishments/Air Stations/Headquarters. They are not deployed on board Indian Coast Guard ships.

Currently, officers of Indian Coast Guard undergo Basic Military Training at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala along with their counterparts of Indian Navy. This helps in the mutual interchange of Officers among these two sister services. While the Indian Coast Guard Academy is under construction in Mangalore, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka.[32]

General-Duty Officers

The command of ships at sea can only be exercised by officers of the General-Duty (GD) branch. The key functions of a General-Duty Officer would be to operate weapons, sensors and different kinds of equipment on board a ship. The safety of the ship and the men would be GD officers responsibility. All the District Commanders (COMDIS) and Commander of Coast Guard Region (COMCG) appointments are exercised by a GD Officer of the Indian Coast Guard.

Pilot Officers

Pilot Officers are also part of GD branch. A Pilot Officer gets an opportunity to work at shore Air Stations along the Indian coasts and also embark ships. ICG operates fixed wing aircraft for surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone. In addition, helicopters are embarked on Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) to provide local surveillance and perform search and rescue mission at sea.

Technical Officers

Technical Officers are responsible for operation of advanced technology and sensor systems on board Coast Guard vessels and aircraft, as well as on shore installations. They also command the maintenance wings of the force.

Law Officers

Law Officers act as legal advisers to their respective commanders. They represent the Indian Coast Guard in legal actions filed by or against the organisation. They also perform the duties of trial law officers in Coast Guard courts, convened to try delinquent Coast Guard personnel. The Directorate of Law at Coast Guard Headquarters is headed by a Deputy Inspector-General and is designated as the Chief Law Officer. Section 115 of the Coast Guard Act, 1978 deals with the qualifications necessary to be appointed as the Chief Law Officer of Indian Coast Guard. Section 116 of the Coast Guard Act, 1978 defines the functions of the Chief Law Officer.[7]

Enrolled personnel

Enrolled personnel in the Coast Guard serve as either a yantrik (technician) or navik (sailor).[33]

  • Yantriks are responsible for operating and maintaining mechanical, electrical or aeronautical equipment and systems on board the Coast Guard vessels and aircraft.
  • Naviks may further serve in the General-Duty or Domestic branches. The General-Duty naviks serve as sailors, weapons systems operators, communication specialists, divers, etc. or in specific maritime or aviation support roles. Domestic branch naviks serve in roles such as stewards, cooks, etc. on board Coast Guard vessels.

Enrolled personnel of Indian Coast Guard are trained along with Indian Naval sailors at the naval training establishment INS Chilka. All training undertaken by Coast Guard personnel is the same as those undertaken by sailors in the Indian Navy. All personnel are trained in operation of weapons systems in cases of emergency.

Indian Coast Guard Ranks
Pradhan Adhikari
Uttam Adhikari
Pradhan navik
Uttam navik


Current aircraft

Aircraft Picture Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Maritime patrol
Dornier Do 228 Dornier Do-228-101, India - Coast Guard JP7712387.jpg  Germany
Reconnaissance 101/201[34] 36[35]
HAL Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, Indian Coast Guard.jpg  India Utility Mk. I 4[36][37] 16 Mk. III on order.[38][35]
HAL Chetak CG816 (13992244674).jpg  France
Utility 17[37]

Current vessels

Vessels belonging to the Indian Coast Guard bear the prefix "ICGS" – Indian Coast Guard Ship.

Class Picture Origin Type Commissioned Displacement Vessels Comment
Pollution control vessels (3)
Samudra class Samudra Class ICG.jpg  India Pollution control vessel 2010–present 3,300 tons 3
Offshore patrol vessels (25)
Vikram class ICGS Vikram, commissioned in 2018, from Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel (2017).jpg  India Offshore patrol vessel 2018–present 2,140 tons 5 A total of 7 vessels on order.[39][40][41][42]
Samarth class ICGS-Samarath.jpg  India Offshore patrol vessel 2015–present 2,400 tons 8 A further 4 more vessels to be delivered.[43]
Vishwast class IndianCoastGuard OPV30 Vishwast Kobe 20101129-001.jpg  India Offshore patrol vessel 2010–present 1,800 tons 3
Sankalp class ICGSSamrat 01.jpg  India Offshore patrol vessel 2008–present 2,325 tons 2 As per ICG website[44]
Samar class Indian Coast Guard Ships Vijaya (34) and Samar (42).jpg  India Offshore patrol vessel 1996–present 2,300 tons 4
Fast Patrol vessels (45)
Aadesh class ICGS Abhiraj patrolling in Gulf of Mannar.jpg  India Fast patrol vessel 2013–present 290 tons 20
Rajshree class ICGS Rajshree, first shipr of Rajshree-class patrol vessel.jpg  India Fast patrol vessel 2012–present 275 tons 12 A follow-up order of 5 more ships was placed with deliveries starting in mid-2019.[45][46]
Rani Abbaka class Rani Abbakka Class ICG.jpg  India Fast patrol vessel 2009–present 275 tons 5
Sarojini Naidu class Indian Coast Guard helicopter using an oil spill disperser.jpg  India Fast patrol vessel 2002–present 270 tons 7
Priyadarshini class Priyadarshini Class ICG.jpg  India Fast patrol vessel 1992–present 215 tons 1 6 decommissioned[47][48]
Patrol boats (79)
Bharati class Thane Creek and Elephanta Island 03-2016 - img08 Ships on Thane Creek.jpg  India Patrol boat 2013–present 107 tons 6 9 more to be commissioned
L&T class L&T class boat.JPG  India Fast interceptor boat 2012–present 90 tons 51 A total of 54 are planned
ABG class Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard interceptor boat C-150.jpg  India Fast interceptor boat 2000–present 90 tons 13
AMP class  India
 United Kingdom
Interceptor boat 1993–present 44 tons 5 4 decommissioned. 1 leased to Mauritius.
Swallow Craft class  South Korea Inshore patrol boat 1980–present 32 tons 4 2 decommissioned. 2 stricken.
Patrol craft (27)
Timblo class  India Interceptor craft 2010–present 7 tons 10
Bristol class  India
 United Kingdom
Interceptor craft 2004–present 5 tons 4
Vadyar class  India Interceptor craft 1988–present 2 tons 8
Mandovi Marine class  India Patrol boat 1980s-present? 10 tons 5? Status unknown.
Hovercraft (18)
Griffon class Griffon-GRSE 8000 TD-class Hovercraft.jpg  United Kingdom Hovercraft 2000–present 27 tons 18 6 H-181(Griffon 8000TD) and 12 H-187(Griffon 8000TD)[49]

Former vessels

Vessels belonging to the Indian Coast Guard bear the prefix "ICGS" – Indian Coast Guard Ship.

Class Picture Origin Type Commissioned Displacement Comment
Patrol vessels
Tara Bai class  India
Coastal patrol vessel 1987–2014 236 tons All 6 have been decommissioned.[50]
Rajhans class  India Patrol vessel 1980–2016 200 tons All 5 have been decommissioned.[51]
Vikram class File Picture INCGS Varuna.jpg  India Offshore patrol vessel 1983–2019 1,220 tons 6 decommissioned, 1 lost, 2 transferred
Blackwood class  United Kingdom Offshore patrol vessel 1978–1988 1,456 tons Former INS Kirpan and former INS Kuthar transferred from the Indian Navy in 1978. Kirpan decommissioned 1987,[52] Kuthar decommissioned September 1988.[53]

Future of the Indian Coast Guard

Future vessels

The following is a table of vessel classes which are either under construction or planned, but have not yet entered service.

Class Origin Type Commission (est.) Displacement Planned Comment
Reliance class  India Fast patrol vessel January 2021 14 Contract was signed for $138 million[54][55]
ICGS Varuna  India Training vessel May 2021 3,000 tons 1 [56][57]

See also


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External links

  • Official website
  • Ministry of Defence site
  • Indian Coast Guard orders six Griffon hovercraft
  • Indian Coast Guard Recruitment Website