After more than 10 years since the attack, Ex Sea Vigil, which will have participation by all agencies associated with coastal security, is well-timed.
The Indian Navy has commenced the largest coastal Defence exercise off the Indian Coast. Code named `Exercise Sea Vigil’ will test the robustness of the entire coastal security apparatus. This will cover the entire coastline of 7516.6 kms & Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India, involving all the 13 coastal states and Union Territories along with all maritime stakeholders including the fishing and coastal communities.
According to the Indian Navy, Exercise Sea Vigil is a large-scale exercise being conducted for the first time ever and will aim to test India’s preparedness to thwart any attempt by anti-national elements to carry out an attack on its territory or against its citizens by infiltrating through the sea route. The exercise is being conducted under the aegis of Commander-in-Chief, Coastal Defence, Southern Naval Command, Kochi and will be monitored closely from the Joint Operations Centre, Kochi.
Post the 26/11 attack of 2008, governments at the Centre and state level have set up a number of steps to build coastal security capacity and capability of all stakeholders. After more than 10 years since the attack, Ex Sea Vigil, which will have participation by all agencies associated with coastal security, is well-timed.
The Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had shared this information with the media during the annual presser in Dec 2018. He had said, “The ‘Exercise sea vigil’ will involve all stakeholders across mainland and Island territories, and will see the participation of all operational ships, submarines and aircraft as well as units of Indian coast guards, Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.”
This will be soon be followed by theater level operational readiness exercise ‘Tropex’ to start in Jan and end in March. The Indian Navy is actively engaged with the Indian Coast Guard to maintain a sharp vigil over our vast coastline, including over the island territories.
Simulated attacks on vital installations and assets along the coastline, a wide range of contingencies, are scheduled to be exercised to assess the response, coordination and information sharing between agencies.
This exercise is expected to provide an opportunity to stakeholders to assess the capability and preparedness of individual organisations, identify deficiencies if any and address them on priority. Multi-agency teams will be deployed in all coastal districts to undertake security audit of various vulnerable locations such as Fish Landing Centers, as well as major, minor and intermediate ports, lighthouses, coastal police stations, control rooms and operations centers.
It may be recalled that totally dedicated joint coastal security exercises such as ‘Sagar Kavach’ and ‘Avardhan’ have significantly augmented the collective surveillance efforts along the coastal areas.
Also, as part of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Indian Navy has also undertaken joint EEZ patrols of the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius. It has also Coordinated Patrols (CORPATs) with Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.