26/11: Navy says maritime surveillance measures on a strong footing

Written by: OneIndia Defence Desk

Chennai/New Delhi, Nov 26: As India remembers her martyrs on the sixth anniversary 26/11, the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, the Indian Navy says that coastal and maritime security measures have increased by many folds.

Claiming that the overall maritime security is much stronger than before, the Indian Navy said that as the lead agency, it has now better coordination between the Indian Coast Guard, the Marine Police and other central and state agencies.

All coordination matters related to maritime and coastal security are being monitored at the Centre by the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS), headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

JOCs fully operational

Naval spokesperson Capt D K Sharma tells OneIndia the Joint Operations Centres (JOCs), set up by the Navy as command and control hubs for coastal security at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair are fully operational.

"We have added more resources now and these JOCs are now being manned on a round-the-clock-basis, jointly by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Marine Police," he said.

He said there has been a sharp increase in the coastal patrolling by the combined forces in the last few years.

"The entire West Coast is under the continuous surveillance of ships and aircraft. This is enabling us to detect potential threats and counter them with swift actions in quick time," he added.

MARCOS on high alert : Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the surveillance and patrolling along the coasts are being carried in accordance with threat perception and security needs.

"The coastal security apparatus in the country is reviewed from time to time. Marine Commandos (MARCOS) remain in a high state of readiness for immediate deployment to counter infiltration through sea routes.

Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) are maintained round the clock for emergency and anti-infiltration operations," the minister informed the Rajya Sabha.

He said that the Indian Coast Guard reported ‘zero infiltration' and ‘no seizure' of drugs during the last two years (since November 2012), a testimony to the strict vigil being put in place.

Parrikar had recently told Navy to plug the loopholes in the maritime security measures. The recently-commissioned Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurgaon, will add more teeth to Navy's coastal security initiatives.

Defence of Gujarat Exercise on

Navy said that a five-day-long ‘Defence of Gujarat Exercise' is currently on, being conducted by the combined units of the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard and the Indian Air Force.

Indian Navy

"This is an annual affair now. On the occasion of the 6th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, over 30 ships and submarines and aircraft have been deployed for this exercise off the Western Coast of India. During this exercise, the defence of the offshore oil production areas will also be tested," a naval spokesperson said.

Aimed at fine-tuning the SOPs (standard operating procedures) and testing the operational concepts for coastal security, the ‘Defence of Gujarat Exercise' has gained significance in the last couple of years.

"We have put in place robust systems to counter possible attacks by sea. The coastal and maritime security has been strengthened substantially by successful implementation of technical, organisational and procedural initiatives by all maritime security agencies," the spokesperson added.

74 Automatic Identification System receivers

Navy says it has now put in modern technical measures for coastal surveillance. It says that a chain of 74 Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers have gone live, ensuring gapless cover along the entire coast.

"This is complemented by a chain of overlapping 46 coastal radars in the coastal areas of our mainland and islands. A second phase of coastal radars is also being implemented to plug the small gaps in some places," the spokesperson said.

Bengaluru-based Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has been working in close liaison with the Indian Navy in developing and installing hi-tech surveillance radars.

"These radars, installed at various coasts across the sea-line have the capability to scan the seas deep inside," the spokesperson added.

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