India to kick off largest-ever coastal defence exercise tomorrow

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NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday will kick off its largest-ever coastal defence exercise “Sea Vigil”, with all maritime stakeholders led by the Navy swinging into action along the country’s entire 7,516-km coastline including island territories and the two million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone.
The two-day Sea Vigil exercise is a build up towards the major combat exercise TROPEX (theatre-level readiness operational exercise), which will see the country’s western and eastern fleets in high-voltage sea manoeuvers in end-January and early-February.
“Sea Vigil and TROPEX together will cover the entire spectrum of maritime security challenges, including transition from peace to conflict,” said Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal on Monday.
This is the second time after January 2019 that the country-wide Sea Vigil coastal defence exercise is being held, in the backdrop of the deadly 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai in 2008.
“The entire coastal security set up was reorganized after the 26/11 attack at Mumbai, which was launched via the sea route. The scale and conceptual expanse of Sea Vigil this year is unprecedented in terms of the geographical extent, the number of stakeholders involved, the number of units participating and in terms of the objectives to be met,” said Commander Madhwal.
The exercise, coordinated by the Navy, will involve all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories, along with other maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.
It will see participation of scores of warships, ships, patrol vessels, aircraft and helicopters from the Navy, Coast Guard, Customs and other maritime agencies, with the ministries of defence, home affairs, shipping, petroleum and fisheries being all involved along with state governments.
“While smaller scale exercises are conducted in coastal states regularly, including combined exercises amongst adjoining states, the conduct of a security exercise at national-level is aimed to serve a larger purpose,” said Commander Madhwal.
“It provides opportunity, at the apex level, to assess our preparedness in the domain of maritime security and coastal defence. Sea Vigil will provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses, and thus will help in further strengthening maritime and national security,” he added.
The 26/11 carnage in Mumbai, in particular, had exposed the lack of “critical connectivity” between intelligence agencies and security agencies. Though there were some intelligence inputs about fishing vessel Kuber trying to infiltrate through the sea route at that time, it had slipped through the cracks to allow Ajmal Kasab and nine other terrorists to reach Mumbai and unleash mayhem.

The story is derived from a syndicated feed and Team TOV has not made any amendments to it. Image Courtesy : TOI

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