India strengthening coastal security, says naval commander

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Kolkata, Dec 2 (ANI): Naval officer-in-charge (West Bengal) Commodore Chandra Sekhar Azad has said that in the wake 26/11 Mumbai attack, India has taken several measures to strengthen coastal security across the country.

Talking to reporters here on Tuesday, Azad said: "Various steps were being taken to improve patrolling and enhance intelligence network."

"The navy along with the Border Security Force (BSF), the Marine Police and the Coast Guard has launched an awareness drive for the fishermen," he added.

"On a monthly basis, we (the Navy, Coast Guard, BSF, Marine Police) set up our camps, we interact with the village head and in the language, vernacular that they understand, that's why we take the Marine Police along with us, we also take the BSF when we go closer to our border. We educate them primarily with the intention of telling them that anyone who is not supposed to be in your area and you do sight them, kindly inform the Navy, inform the Coast Guard, inform the police," he said.

He said there would be a separate force, Sagar Prahari Bal, for the purpose of increasing vigil in coastal areas of the country, starting from Gujarat to West Bengal.

"The force will constitute 1,000 navy personnel, including 61 officers and 939 sailors and will have 95 Fast Interceptive Craft (FIC). The induction for the force will start from January next year," he added.

The 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks exposed chinks in the security apparatus to secure India's vast coastline of 7,515 kilometres, - 5,423 kms in the mainland and 2,094 kms spread over the archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar islands and Lakshadweep.

Ten gunmen landed on Mumbai shores by boats at sunset on November 26, 2008 and fired indiscriminately at a busy railway station, a Jewish settlement, a cafe and luxury hotels.

Several people were held hostage for the next three days and at least 166 people were killed before commandoes smoked out the last of the militants on November 28. (ANI)

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