According to the official spokesperson of the Indian Navy Capt DK Sharma, “The exercise was planned in two phases -- the Phase I commenced with the deployment of personnel and sea-going units of all stakeholders.”
For the first time ever India’s largest-ever Coastal Defence Exercise (Ex Sea Vigil), was conducted over an intense 36-hour from Jan 22-23. The exercise was conducted Post 26/11 to check all measures put in place to improve the measures of efficiency and effectiveness of coastal security.
Conceptualised and led by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard it saw the simultaneous activation of country’s entire Coastal Security apparatus across all nine Coastal States and four Union Territories. And, witnessed complete support and participation of all Central and State agencies including the MHA, MoD, Customs, CISF, Dept of Fisheries, DGLL, DG Shipping, Port authorities and the Coastal police of all participating states.
According to the official spokesperson of the Indian Navy Capt DK Sharma, “The exercise was planned in two phases — the Phase I commenced with the deployment of personnel and sea-going units of all stakeholders.” There were 150 ships and 35 aircraft of the Navy and Coast Guard deployed for the exercise, and sea-going assets of other stakeholders like the State police, CISF, Customs etc which touched 500-600 craft at sea.”
According to him, “This layered defence provided a near-unbroken ‘Nigrani’ or surveillance net along the entire coast of India and outlying islands. This was further enhanced by the Chain of radar stations setup along the coast as part of the Coastal surveillance network. All this was fed back to the Joint Operations Centres set up by the Navy at Mumbai, Kochi, Visakhapatnam and Port Blair for monitoring, analysis and response.”
The uniform and technical surveillance network was supported by the fishing communities along the coast as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the nation’s coastal security construct.
This ‘Nireekshan’ was undertaken by multi-agency teams deployed to check and audit important landing points including Fish Landing Centres and Vulnerable areas and important installations along the coast as well as in the hinterland.
The Phase –II witnessed attempts to penetrate and land dummy explosives by designated ‘RED’ forces comprising teams drawn from the Navy Coast Guard, Police and CISF. These teams were given a free hand to commandeer fishing vessels; merchantmen etc and attempt to reach the coast.
Driven by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Phase II also saw the exercising of various contingencies on land after an ‘assumed’ landing. The NSG was also called in to tackle hostage situations in two-three vital installations. Contingencies including hijacking of ships, bomb disposal in malls, attacks and responses on places of worship etc were also exercised and tested for effectiveness. The Crisis Management Groups of states were also activated to deal with such situations.
Ex Sea Vigil 2019 which witnessed the largest mobilisation of maritime and coastal security machinery in India, will be now institutionalized to be conducted every two years in addition to the state-focussed Sagar Kavach series of exercises.