QUESTION : What suggestions would you give to upgrade India’s coastal security management ? Discuss





  • India’s Maritime Domain




  • Recently, a key meeting of India’s Ministry of Defence discussed the issue of adding Australia to the trilateral Malabar naval exercise with Japan and the United States in the Bay of Bengal.
  • There is speculation in the media that New Delhi could soon invite Australia to join the Malabar naval exercises to be held later this year.



  • It appears a green signal to Australia could soon be given, making it the first time since 2007 that all members of Quad will participate in a joint military drill, aimed apparently at China.
  • Japan and the U.S. have also been keen on Australia’s inclusion for some time now and have been pushing India to consider it.



 India’s Indo-Pacific plan:

  • After years of reluctance by India for inclusion of Australia, it was finally open to the inclusion of the country in the Malabar as an observer.
  • The inclusion of Australia in the Malabar exercises would surely mark a major shift for India’s Indo-Pacific plans.


  • Following the stand-off in Ladakh, many Indian analysts believe the time is right for India to shed its traditional defensiveness in the maritime domain.


Signal to China:

  • The move of expansion of Malabar exercise comes in the midst of the ongoing stand-off with China on the border, the biggest crisis along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in over five decades.
  • And Australia’s inclusion would be surely seen as a possible first step towards the militarization of the Quad coalition, which has been opposed by China in the past.

 Repeated requests by Australia

  • Since April 2017 Australia has made repeated requests to join the exercises.
  • However, India did not include Australia in the exercises in 2018 and 2019, on the other hand
  • Recently, Australian PM also announced Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update, which has been termed a “significant pivot”
  • It is a A$270 billion 10-year defence plan which includes, for the first time, land, sea and air-based long-range and hypersonic strike missiles for Australia



 1) Contrary message to China:

  • While India and China are negotiating a truce, Australia’s participation in the Malabar exercise sends contrary signals to Beijing.
  • If China responded aggressively in the Eastern Indian Ocean, it could needlessly open up a new front in the India-China conflict.


2) Only modest gains for India :

  • India’s priority is to acquire strategic capabilities to counter a Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.


  • Indian Navy is yet to develop the undersea capability to deter Chinese submarines in the eastern Indian Ocean.
  • With U.S. defence companies hesitant to share proprietary technology the gains for India, in exchange for signing up the ‘military-quad’, are modest.
  • Without strategic technology transfers, Indian Navy’s deterrence potential in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) will not improve much.


3) Operational issue: India will be drawn into power dynamics of the Asia-Pacific :

  • The U.S. would expect its Indo-Pacific partners, including India, to assist the U.S. Navy in its South China Sea endeavour.
  • The U.S. and Japanese navies have little spare capacity for sustained surveillance and deterrence operations in the IOR.
  • Australia is an exception and is ready and able to partner India in securing the Eastern Indian Ocean.



  • A balancing coalition must come together at a time when the nature and magnitude of the threat are wholly manifest.




  • It is the informal strategic dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
  • The idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
  • In December 2012, Shinzo Abe again floated the concept of Asia’s “Democratic Security Diamond” involving Australia, India, Japan and the US to safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.
  • In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending “Quad” Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).



  • It is an annual trilateral naval exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and the USA which is held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  • It began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the USA in and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
  • Other exercises between India and Australia are Pitch Black and AUSINDEX.




  • India’s 7,516-kilometre-long coastline includes 5,422 kilometres of coastline on the mainland and 2,094 kilometres on the islands belonging to nine states and four Union Territories.
  • The coastline accounts for 90% of the country’s trade and it spans 3,331 coastal villages and 1,382 islands.
  • The coastline houses 12 major and 200 minor ports, along with 95 landing centres, and is increasingly facing security challenges from adversarial neighbours and non-state actors.
  • The IOR is fast becoming one of the most crucial geopolitical and economic areas of the world and there has been a rise in security concerns. The Indo-Pacific region holds immense geo-political and geo-strategic significance for navies around the world.
  • Expanded participation in Malabar will help strengthen regional maritime security arrangement in the Indo-Pacific region.



  • India should not sign up to quadrilateral engagement without a cost-benefit exercise and commensurate gains in the strategic-operational realm.
  • India also needs to assess that while these counties may engage in the occasional naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal, the U.S. and Japanese navies have little spare capacity for sustained surveillance and deterrence operations in the IOR.



  • Surveillance and interagency coordination
  • Stronger involvement of coastal police
  • Strengthening of the Coast Guard
  • The CG must be strengthened to play a leadership role in coastal security.
  • Reinforce Coastal Regulation Zone regulations
  • There is an apprehension among environmentalists that CRZ laws are being diluted in favour of tourism, shrimp farming and industry lobby groups, without taking into consideration the views of experts or the public.



QUESTION : Significance and the role of NDRF in disaster management in the country . Elucidate with examples.










  • The Centre has recently applied an unused provision in the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to allow any person or institution to contribute to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for the purpose of disaster management.




  • The MHA had invoked the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for the first time in March this year in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic was notified as a “disaster,” paving the way for the States to utilise the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for treatment of patients and other logistics.
  • These include quarantine centres, setting up laboratories among other things
  • Increment in allocated funds:The NDRF has been allocated Rs. 22,070 crore in the financial year 2020-21, up from Rs. 17,210 crore in the 2019-20 fiscal


Supplementing State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) : As per Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act,

  • The “NDRF supplements the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in the SDRF.”
  • The States also have to submit utilisation certificates, pending which no future allocation is made
  • The fund is the primary available with State governments to meet the expenses of relief operations of an immediate nature, for a range of specified disasters.


Contribution by the central government:


  • The Central government contributes 75% of the SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories,
  • It is 90% for special category States (northeast States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir).


ABOUT NATIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE FUND (NDRF) : Defined in Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DM Act).

  • It is a fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • Constituted to supplement the funds of the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) of the states to facilitate immediate relief in case of calamities of a severe nature.
  • National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) was renamed as National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) with the enactment of the Disaster Management Act in 2005.



  • NDRF amount can be spent only towards meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation.
  • For projects exclusively for the purpose of mitigation, i.e, measures aimed at reducing the risk, impact or effect of a disaster or threatening disaster situation a separate fund called National Disaster Mitigation Fund has to be constituted.

Financing of the fund :

  • NDRF is financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty, and approved annually through the Finance Bill.


  • The requirement for funds beyond what is available under the NDRF is met through general budgetary resources.
  • NDRF amount can be spent only towards meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation.
  • For projects exclusively for the purpose of mitigation, i.e, measures aimed at reducing the risk, impact or effect of a disaster, a separate fund called National Disaster Mitigation Fund has to be constituted.
  • NDRF is located in the “Public Accounts” of Government of India under “Reserve Funds not bearing interest”




  • The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.




  • Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.



  • Specialized response during disasters.
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations.
  • Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills.
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills.
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
  • Community Capacity Building Programme.
  • Organize Public Awareness Campaigns.



  • Questions were raised about the role of NDMA during Uttarakhand Flooding in 2013, where it failed to timely inform people about the flash floods and landslides. The post disaster relief response had been equally poor. Experts blamed the poor planning of NDMA that lead to unfinished projects for flood and landslide mitigation.
  • A CAG report noted that there were delays in completion of projects under the flood management programmes. It noted the projects were not taken up in an integrated manner and blamed NDMA for institutional failures for poor flood management.
  • It held that there were huge delays in completion of river management activities and works related to border areas projects which were long-term solutions for the flood problems of Assam, north Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
  • Devastations during Kerala Floods in 2018 and Chennai Floods in 2015 were eye-opening for the institutions regarding preparedness for the disaster situation.



  • Policy guidelines at the macro level are needed.
  • Building in a culture of preparedness and mitigation is the need of the hour.
  • Operational guidelines should be framed for integrating disaster management practices into development.
  • Robust early warning systems coupled with effective response plans at district, state and national levels should be put in place.
  • Community, NGOs, CSOs and the media should be involved at all stages of disaster management.
  • Climate risk management should be addressed through adaptation and mitigation.

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