Ten years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, India conducted its largest coastal defence drill, Exercise Sea Vigil, to test its preparedness along the entire 7,516.6 km-long-coastline and exclusive economic zone of the country.
The first of its kind exercise was conducted on January 22 and 23 and coordinated by the Navy.
“Exercise Sea Vigil aims to comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since 26/11. It aims to simultaneously activate the coastal security mechanism across all 13 coastal States and Union Territories,” the Navy said in a statement.
This involves the evaluation of critical areas and processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance. “Multi agency audit and identification of gaps, shortfalls and incorporation of lessons learnt into Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are also the desired outcomes,” the Navy stated.
“In an effort to test the preparedness and coordination, some rogue elements tried to breach the surveillance network and reach the coast during the exercise,” an official said.
Post 26/11, the Navy was designated as the agency responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security, while the Coast Guard was designated as the agency responsible for coastal security in territorial waters.
A multi-tiered patrol and surveillance mechanism with focus on technical surveillance and augmenting Maritime Domain Awareness through the coastal radar chain was adopted. Progress has been made in real-time information sharing through the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence (NC3I) Network and improving intelligence and operational coordination. However, several measures are still in the implementation stage even after a decade.