Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 13:22 (GMT+7)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 22:09 (GMT+7)
On the building of standing coastal militia squadrons

As a coastal country, Vietnam has a coastline of 3,260 km. Its territorial waters border 9 countries and territories, with a total area of over 1 million square kilometres and more than 3,000 big and small islands, including the Spratly and Paracel Islands. As of 2018, the country has had nearly 30 coastal provincial-level administrative units, over 100 coastal district-level ones, and nearly 700 coastal commune-level ones, including several dozens of island districts and communes. Our country’s seas and islands, especially the East Sea hold a position of utmost importance to national economy, defence, and security and have great potential for developing a marine economy.

Over the years, in response to foreign vessels’ violations of our territorial waters, sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, the Party and State of Vietnam have placed emphasis on building the coastal militia and self-defence force, while promoting its role in defending the national sovereignty over seas and islands and developing the marine economy. However, the coastal militia and self-defence force is only on the spot and extensive in coastal and island communes, depends on owners’ fishing vessels, and mainly operates in the areas near the coast. It has not had any mobile, specialised unit or any specialised vessel, weapon, and tool to maintain law enforcement at sea yet, particularly in the distant waters and the disputed seas.

Against that backdrop, under the guidelines on marine economic development in line with sea and island protection, in 2018, the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence formulated and submitted the Project on “building and engaging standing coastal militia squadrons in the defence of sea and island sovereignty in the new situation” to the Government for approval, and then executed it. As a part of the coastal militia and self-defence force, in addition to the general task, the standing coastal militia squadrons are assigned to conduct patrols and reconnaissances, collect and process information in the air and at sea, exercise the national sovereignty over seas and islands, exploit fisheries resources, protect the State and people’s assets and marine natural resources, and perform several tasks under the regulations of Vietnam’s law and authorities. All coastal provinces and municipalities of Vietnam must build their own standing coastal militia squadrons. Currently, the Military is cooperating with a number of provinces and municipalities in implementing the first phase of the Project in order to draw lessons and set examples for others to follow.

To promote the role of standing coastal militia squadrons, party committees and authorities of coastal provinces and municipalities should closely cooperate with the Ministry of National Defence, particularly the Department of Militia and Self-Defence (the General Staff) in recruiting and training cadres and soldiers of standing coastal militia squadrons as well as in consolidating and improving party organisations and commands within those squadrons. Moreover, it is necessary to build, implement, and gradually complete the mechanisms for leadership, management, command, operation, and cooperation with other forces. Due regard should be paid to providing political and military training courses for members of those squadrons, improving their political zeal and professional competence, and making them capable of mastering specialised vessels, equipment, and supporting tools. At the same time, it is essential to ensure policies for the standing coastal militia squadrons and allocate central and local budgets to maintain their regular operation.

Well implementing the above-mentioned measures will greatly contribute to building strong local armed forces, making the postures of all-people national defence and people’s security solid at sea, preventing and pushing back the risk of armed conflict, maintaining peace and stability at sea, defending the national sovereignty over seas and islands, and developing a sustainable marine economy.

Nguyen Duc Phu

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