Dwarka | Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the value of recent drug seizure off the Kerala coast was more than the cumulative value of narcotics seized during the ten-year rule of Congress-led UPA government at the Centre before the BJP came to power in 2014. In a jibe at Congress, he said the lapses in coastal security led to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
Shah made these comments while laying the foundation stone for the permanent campus of the National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP) at Okha in Gujarat's Devbhumi Dwarka district.
"The Indian Navy and Coast Guard caught drugs worth Rs 12,000 crore off the Kerala coast recently. This is more than what was caught in an entire year in the past. During ten years of UPA, narcotics worth Rs 680 crore were seized. And we have caught drugs worth Rs 12,000 crore in one instance. It proves that the security scenario has improved," the home minister said.
Nearly 2,500 kg of methamphetamine worth around Rs 12,000 crore was seized from a vessel in Indian waters along the Kerala coast in a joint operation by the Navy and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) around a week back.
"Security experts have admitted that India's security has strengthened and citizens living inside the country and near the border feel safer after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014," said Shah.
He said Modi first strengthened Gujarat's security as its chief minister (before 2014) and now he is trying to secure the country with the cooperation of different state governments.
Referring to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, when Pakistan-based attackers entered the city through sea route without any trouble, Shah said lapses in the coastal security led to the tragedy.
The Congress-led UPA was in power when ten terrorists attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
"This country paid a huge price for the lapses in our coastal security. No patriotic citizen can forget that tragedy when 166 innocent citizens lost their lives due to the lapses in our security set-up. Our country faced humiliation in the world due to the Mumbai terror attack," said Shah.
He said there had been no policy for coastal security which led to the Mumbai attacks.
Under the Modi government, a holistic policy on coastal security is now being followed and "enemies" planning to do similar misadventures will be given a befitting reply now, said Shah, adding that Indians whether living along the border or in central India now feel secure.
"Earlier, there was no specialised training for jawans of the Border Security Force, Coast Guard and the Coastal Police of different states and Union Territories. But, after the Mumbai terror attack, it was felt that there should be uniformity in the response of our forces guarding our coastline. For that, they must get training in a well-planned manner," the home minister said.
He told the audience that PM Modi gave clearance to start NACP at Okha to fulfil this purpose in 2018.
"PM Modi has created a 'Sudarshan Chakra' or security ring for India and has left no stone unturned to fortify the border security," he said.
Notably, NACP, the country's first national academy to train police forces in effectively safeguarding the shoreline, started functioning in 2018 from the campus of the Gujarat Fisheries Research Centre.
NACP was set up to provide intensive and high-level training to marine police of nine coastal states, five UTs as well as the Central Police Forces, said a BSF release.
According to Shah, some people, including those from the media, had raised concerns when the allocation of funds for border areas increased after Modi became prime minister nine years ago.
"What they meant was that funds should be allocated more in areas inside the country where population density is higher. I want to tell them that there is no meaning of development in the country if our borders are not safe," he said.
Before attending the NACP event, Shah, who arrived in Gujarat on Saturday morning on a two-day visit, offered prayers at the famous Dwarkadhish temple here. He also met Dwarka peeth Shankaracharya Swami Sadanand Saraswati.