The recent announcement by the Government of India (GoI) to appoint a national maritime security coordinator is a step in the right direction. For the sake of posterity, it would be useful to trace the background of when, why and how the seed got planted.
Enacted by Parliament in 1958, India’s Merchant Shipping Act had also constituted a National Shipping Board (NSB) to advise the government on the development of Indian shipping. The Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS), then being the second seniormost officer of the Indian Navy, was a member of the NSB.
In due course, however, the Vice-Chief became the number two man in the Naval Headquarters, but the DCNS remained a member of the NSB. When I was Director Naval Operations (DNO), the DCNS deputed me to attend the NSB meetings in 1996 and again in 1997.