Over 1,000 officers and sailors of the Navy, forming part of the Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB), a new naval force formed to protect naval bases and coastline, will commence their training at INS Dronacharya from January 11 next.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had recently approved the formation of the SPB for Force Protection Duties, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral K N Sushil told reporters on board INS Krishna here.

The navy personnel, who will undergo the training are below 25 years of age, he said.

The force will be equipped with Fast Interceptor Crafts, small arms and will also be suitably trained for a wide spectrum of coastal security tasks, Mr. Sushil said.

In the first week, small arms training will be imparted, after which there will be a capsule on navigation, to be followed by a consoldiated training on fast interceptor crafts. A week-long training will also be held on INS Shivaji where the entire crew will be ‘cross trained’

As the nodal agency for coastal security in Kerala, the Southern Naval Command in collaboration with other security agencies, was determined to provide comprehensive security for the state, he said.

A major exercise on coastal security was conducted in October involving various agencies including police, customs and coastguard and a similar exercise was being planned for Lakshadweep Islands in the near future, he said.

Much needs to done in terms of security of minor ports, monitoring of unmanned landing points and a fool-proof identification for all the sea-going craft and their crew, the Vice-Admiral said.

Post 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the government had also asked the navy to conduct marine orientation training for CISF personnel and three batches of 253 CISF men have undergone training. About 500 CISF personnel are expected to be trained every year from 2010, he said.

On the recent incident of a French yacht making unauthorised entry into Indian waters, he said the naval personnel had gone on board to check if they were involved in any clandestine activities, but they found nothing suspicious and the yacht was allowed to leave.

About the delay in the completion of infrastructure facilities at Ezhimala academy, he said most of the training infrastructure was complete while work on some more facilities like hospitals are yet to be completed. The navy has been assured that by the middle of next year it would be completed, he said.

Twenty warships from nine countries have called at Kochi port since December last year for goodwill and operational reasons. A significant increase in foreign ships calling at Kochi is due to large deployment of many navies in the piracy infested Gulf of Aden region.

The Kochi bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal will commence operations from December 6, he said.

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