Proposals to set up a Coast Guard service were first taken seriously in the early ‘seventies, when a committee was set up to examine the problem of seaborne smuggling and the feasibility of establishing such a service. The committee recommended the setting up of a Coast Guard service. This recommendation was accepted and plans were put into effect to create a Coast Guard service under the overall responsibility of the Ministry of Defence. In August 1976, the Maritime Zones of India Act was passed, which defined the Exclusive Economic Zones surrounding the Indian sub-continent where Indian sovereignty would be applied.
On 1 February 1977 an interim Coast Guard organisation was established, with the help of the Indian Navy, which began to put into place the necessary infrastructure for a national maritime policing service. The duties and functions of the service were formally defined in Coast Guard Act, which was passed on the 18 August 1978, and came into effect on the 19 August. The Coast Guard was to become responsible for the policing of over 2.01 million square kilometres of ocean, with the stated objective of providing offshore security, marine environmental security, coastal security, marine safety, scientific assistance and national defence. The area under it’s control was to include 1197 islands and a coastline of 7517 kilometres.
Begining in 1978 with two old frigates seconded by the Navy and five small patrol vessels, the ICG expanded over the following two decades to attain a force level of 52 ships and craft and 35 aircraft and helicopters. An Air Wing was formed in 1982 with Indian Navy assistance to aid the surface fleet. The first helicopter Squadron was formally commissioned in May 1982 and the first fixed-wing unit was activated in 1982.
One of the Coast Guard’s greatest ever tests began on 26 December 2005, when an earthquake off Indonesia triggered a giant Tsunami wave which caused massive destruction along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. Coast Guard personel immediately began relief operations in the remote Andaman Islands from Port Blair, and in the regions of Chennai and Mumbai on the mainland. A Coast Guard Dornier 228 (CG 753) was also the first aircraft to deliver medicines and essential supplies to the Maldives within 24 hours of the tragedy. A total of 230 sorties were flown by aircraft and helicopters in the period up to 21 January 2006.
||Rustamji Committee set up to study creation of a coast guard service
|31 July 1975
||Rustamji Committee strongly recommends creation of the Coast Guard
|25 August 1976
||The Maritime Zones of India Act passed
|1 Feb 1977
||Interim Indian Coast Guard organisation created by the Navy
|18 August 1978
||Coast Guard Act passed in Parliament
|19 August 1978
||Coast Guard Act comes into force – ICG formally established
|22 May 1982
||First air squadron (CGAS 800) commissioned with helicopters
||First fixed wing squadron (CGAS 700) activated
||First trainee Coast Guard aviators qualify for their wings
|7 July 1986
||First two Do 228s handed over in Germany
||First Dhruv helicopter delivered
The duties of the Air Wing are defined as: Air Surveillance of the EEZ, Ensuring Pollution Prevention measures, Providing Assistance to Fishermen and Search and Rescue. In recent years it has achieved some major successes in anti-piracy operations. The service carries out regular operations and exercies with the Indian Navy, to maximise operational efficiency.
The ICG has plans for an eventual fleet of 36 light observation helicopters, 12 rescue helicopters, 36 coastal patrol aircraft and 9 long range surveillance aircraft.
Current — Historical
Aircraft Serial Numbers
All aircraft and helicopters carry a three-digit serial number prefixed by the letters ‘CG’. Fixed wing aircraft are serialled in the range 7xx, while helicopters are serialled in the range 8xx. Examples are Do 228 CG 766 and Chetak CG 803.
Unlike Indian Navy aircraft, unit or base code letters are not carried.
Chetak CG 810. (photo, Simon Watson)
Not used – manufacturers designation used.
Current Aircraft Inventory
Table of Current Service Aircraft
All-Time Aircraft Used List
All-Time Table of Aircraft Used
Aircraft NOT Used
A reported order for 5 BN-2 Maritime Defender patrol aircraft placed in 1980 did not result in any aircraft being delivered.
Aircraft Losses and Incidents
The only serious accident suffered so far has been the loss of Do 288-101 CG 757 in January 1993.
Coast Guard Headquarters, National Stadium Complex, New Delhi 1100 01.
The Indian Coast Guard is commanded by the Director General at Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi. It has three regional commands – at Mumbai (Region West), Chennai (Region East) and Port Blair (Region Andaman and Nicobar). There are 11 district commands – one in each coastal State on the mainland and two in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are six Coast Guard stations: Jakahu, Okha and Vadinar in Region West; and Tuticorin and Mandapam in Region East, under their respective district commands. The Air Wing of Coast Guard is operated from two stations and six air enclaves and has ten air units.
Current Unit Assignments
Table of Current Unit Assignments
Historical Unit Assignments
Table of Historical Unit Assignments
All-Time Flying Units List
Port Blair Chetak Flight
Current Air Bases
The Indian Coast Guard Air Wing currently operates from two main air bases, and a number of air enclaves along India’s coast. See listing below for details.
All-Time Air Bases Used List
ICGAW Air Bases Listing
Indian Aviation Bibliography – to be added
World Air Power Journal No.12 p.138
Indian Coast Guard Official Home Page
(Includes history, mission, organisation etc)
Bharat Rakshak Indian Coast Guard Page
(Indian-based website giving details of organisation, ships and aircraft))
Indian Coast Guard: A Profile
(Brief overview of the service)
Wikipedia: Indian Coast Guard
(Includes objectives, history, bases, vessels etc)