Armed forces conduct coastal exercise ahead of 26/11 anniversary

Over 30 ships, submarines and aircraft of the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Coast Guard and state agencies have been deployed for an exercise off the western coast, ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack.

IANS| Last Updated: Nov 25, 2014, 23:51 PM IST

New Delhi: Over 30 ships, submarines and aircraft of the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Coast Guard and state agencies have been deployed for an exercise off the western coast, ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack.

"In order to be better prepared to prevent a 26/11 incident from the sea, the Indian Navy, along with the Coast Guard and Indian Air Force are currently conducting the annual 'Defence of Gujarat' exercise for five days," an official statement said.

"During this exercise, the defence of the offshore oil production areas will also be tested. This exercise will provide an opportunity to fine tune standard operating procedures (SOPs) and test new operational concepts for coastal security," it said.

"Since 2008, coastal and maritime security have been strengthened substantially by successful implementation of technical, organisational and procedural initiatives, by all maritime security agencies. Plugging gaps, where identified, is continuous process that is being addressed appropriately."

Among the measures adopted to improve coastal security after the Mumbai terror attack, a National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security, headed by the cabinet secretary, coordinates all matters related to maritime and coastal security at the apex level.

The joint operations centres (JOCs), set up by the navy as command and control hubs for coastal security in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair are fully operational. These JOCs are manned 24x7 jointly by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Marine Police.

"Coastal patrolling by navy, coast guard and marine police has increased sharply over the last few years. Inter-agency coordination, between nearly 15 national and state agencies, has improved dramatically, only due to regular 'exercises' conducted by the navy in all the coastal states.

"Nationwide, over 100 such exercises have been conducted till date since 2008, and this has strengthened coastal security markedly," the statement added.