KOCHI: Aimed at securing the State's waterways, the Kerala Police launched 47 speedboats and interceptor vessels here on Friday.
Inaugurating the function, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the 76 police stations along the State's coast would soon be equipped with boats and other infrastructure to equip them to counter possible threats from waterborne terrorists.
“We need the help of the coastal populace to warn us of suspicious activities happening along the coast and the waterfront. Special importance is being given to Kochi's security since the city is home to many strategic installations,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.
Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose said in his address that police presence in the State's waterways would enhance coastal security. “Police patrols were hitherto confined to roads and highways. The police have been functioning in coordination with the Navy. Joint exercises with the Coast Guard too have yielded results,” he said.
Delivering the keynote address, Vice-Admiral K.N. Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, said that hostile forces had a strategy to bleed India, with Kashmir as the geographic focus of their activities. All institutions, including the Indian Parliament, had been subject to terrorist attacks. The seaborne attack on Mumbai showed how the country's vulnerabilities were exploited.
“We need a multi-layer security that is difficult to breach. The fishing community are our eyes and ears and play a part in our efforts to secure the coast. The Navy will in a month train 10 officers and 50 policemen of the Kerala Police in coastal security,” Vice-Admiral Sushil said.
Earlier, oarsmen, trained civilians, police and Navy personnel displayed their manoeuvring skills on various types of boats. Union Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas; B.K. Loshaly, Deputy Inspector-General, Coast Guard; B. Sandhya, Inspector-General of Police, Ernakulam Range; and City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham were present.