Indian Coast Guard Explained in Detail

by Sachin Kumar on January 4, 2014

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is the fourth armed force of the Union of India. Its mission is the protection of India’s maritime interests and enforcement of maritime law with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including contiguous zone & exclusive economic zone.

coast guard

Responsibilities of ICG:

  1. Ensuring the safety and protection of artificial islands, offshore terminals, installations and other structures and devices in any maritime zone.
  2. Providing protection to fishermen including assistance to them at sea while in distress.
  3. Taking such measures as are necessary to preserve and protect the maritime environment and to prevent and control marine pollution.
  4. Assisting the customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations.
  5. Enforcing the provisions of such enactments as are for the time being in force in the maritime zones.
  6. Such other matters, including measures for the safety of life and property at sea and collection of scientific data, as may be prescribed

Why Coast Guards were setup?

By 1973, India had started a program to acquire the equipment and started deputing personnel from the Indian Navy for these anti-smuggling and law enforcement tasks. The Indian Navy sensed that the law enforcement nature of these duties diverged from its core mission as a military service. Indian Navy hence made a recommendation to outline the need for a separate maritime service to undertake those duties and offering the Navy’s assistance in its establishment. Hence, The Indian Coast Guard was constituted as the fourth armed union of India, on 19 August 1978.

Difference between Navy and Coast Guard

  1. The duty of the navy is to protect our maritime interests i.e. protecting our ships from pirates. Also in time of war, the navy barricades enemy ports to stop the flow of supplies to the enemies and ensuring our ports stay free of all encumbrances so that our merchant interests are protected. The basic duty of the coast guard is to ensure there are no illegal activities that happen in our seas.
  2. The other duty of navy is to protect India’s diplomatic interests. These basically involve sending diplomatic missions to other countries, or protecting the welfare of our citizens in foreign lands. For example, when the agitation against Gaddafi was on, we sent our ships to evacuate Indian citizens. The coast guard basically patrols the waters, so if a foreign fisherman is fishing in our seas, it’s the coast guards duty to look into it.
  3. While protection of the high seas is vested with the Indian Navy, the area between 10 and 30 nautical miles from the shore is under the charge of the Coast Guard and from shore to five nautical miles with the coastal police as well as the Coast Guard.
  4. The navy is equipped with slower, bigger ships; the coast guard fleet consists basically of small, fast, patrol ships.

Operational Commands

The Indian Coast Guard’s Central HQ is located in New Delhi. The ICG have 5 operational commands which are as follows:

  1. Western Region (W): Mumbai
  2. Eastern Region (E): Chennai
  3. North East Region (NE): Kolkata
  4. Andaman & Nicobar Region (A&N): Port Blair
  5. North West Region (NW): Gandhinagar

Strength and Personnel

The Coast Guard has strength of approximately 1000 officers and 5200 enrolled personnel. The force is led by a Director General. The Director General Coast Guard is usually a Vice Admiral rank officer on deputation from the Indian Navy.

Coast Guard Officers: The officers in the Coast Guard have the same rank structure as the Central Armed Police Forces. Officers are appointed in four branches, as 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.

ICG Ranks

Navy Ranks

Director General Vice Admiral  (FOC-in-C’s Scale)
Additional Director General Vice Admiral (HAG scale)
Inspector General Rear Admiral
Deputy Inspector General  (Senior) Commodore
Deputy Inspector General (Junior) Captain
Commandant Captain (with seniority) or Commander
Commandant (Junior Grade) Commander
Deputy Commandant Lt. Commander
Assistant Commandant Lieutenant
Assistant Commandant (Trainee) Sub Lieutenant


Enrolled Personnel: Enrolled personnel in the Coast Guard serve as either a Yantrik (Technician) or Navik (Sailor). Yantriks are responsible for operating and maintaining mechanical, electrical or aeronautical equipment and systems on Coast Guard vessels and aircraft. Naviks serve in the General Duty or Domestic branches. All personnel are trained in operation of weapons systems in cases of emergency.

ICG Ranks

Navy Ranks

Pradhan Adhikari/ Pradhan Sahayak Engineer Master Chief Petty Officer (1st Class)
Uttam Adhikari/ Uttam Sahayak Engineer Master Chief Petty Officer (2nd Class)
Adhikari/ Sahayak Engineer Chief Petty Officer
Pradhan Navik/ Pradhan Yantrik Petty Officer
Uttam Navik/ Uttam Yantrik Leading Seaman
Navik/ Yantrik Seaman I

Seaman II


Currently, the Indian Coast Guard Academy is under construction in Azhikkal, Kerala. The officers of Indian Coast Guard undergo basic military training at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala along with the officers of Indian Navy. The enlisted personnels in ICG are enrolled as Yantriks or Naviks. They receive training along with the naval sailors at INS Chilka. All the training undertaken by Coast Guard officers and sailors are the same as those under taken by Naval officers and sailors.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

subhomoy January 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm

sir i want to know that which is better general duty or navigator nd obsesver in Indian coast guard


Srikata Dakua February 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Sir I want to become a commission rank officer after joining the navik general duty. Can Indian Coast Guard Give the oppurtunity to have ?


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