More than 10 years after the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, the Indian Navy on Tuesday kicked off its largest coastal defence exercise, code-named “SEA VIGIL” along the entire coastline of the country.
Exercise SEA VIGIL, a first of its kind, is being undertaken along the entire 7516.6 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India, involving all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories along with all maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities. The exercise will cover a wide frontage covering for the first time the entire coast of India, including island territories.
It will also go deeper, being spread over seaward, coastal, and hinterland areas. Evaluation of critical areas and processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance will be undertaken.
“Exercise SEA VIGIL aims to comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since '26/11',” the Navy said. The exercise is a build-up towards the major theatre level tri-service exercise TROPEX [Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercise] which Indian Navy conducts every two years. SEA VIGIL and TROPEX together will cover the entire spectrum of maritime security, including transition from peace to conflict. All Operational assets of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard are participating in the drills.
Closer coast, strategic assets, ports, Single Point Moorings (SPMs) will be patrolled by designated agencies. Seaward monitoring will also entail inputs from technical means, including intelligence sources.
In the Shore-based leg of the drills, monitoring will entail enhanced vigil by the State Police along the coast; monitoring of fish landing centres by state fisheries departments; as also monitoring of port areas by respective port authorities.
The Navy said the ‘SEA VIGIL’ will provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weakness and this will certainly help further strengthening of maritime security and in turn national security.
Post '26/11', the Indian Navy was designated as the agency responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security. The Naval Commanders-in-Chiefs at Mumbai, Kochi, Visakhapatnam and Port Blair were also designated as Commanders-in-Chiefs Coastal Defence.
The Indian Coast Guard was designated as the agency responsible for coastal security in territorial waters, including waters to be patrolled by the State Marine Police. (ANI)