The complex and dynamic nature of the coastal and marine area is prompting many nations to consider the internalisation of integrated coastal management (ICM) policy as part of a deliberate strategy for sustainable development. The institutional structures required to deliver such internalisation are subject to debate. This paper presents a suggested generic institutional framework derived through consideration of the core ICM process and proven organisational models. The proposed framework consists of an 'operating core' which facilitates local issue identification, evaluation and monitoring; an 'administrative component' of Central and State government to set policy direction, manage funding, and provide guidance on implementation and operation; a 'strategic apex' within Central government to oversee the transition from ICM concept to practice; and a 'co-ordinating mechanism' to allow open communication of ideas and information. The proposed framework is then applied to India, which currently faces the challenge of developing a suitable institutional framework to deliver ICM aspirations. It is concluded that the generic institutional framework works well when applied to India, with existing organisations and agencies requiring relatively minor organisational changes to address coastal and marine issues more effectively.