Mumbai: Improved co-ordination of some 15 national and state security agencies as well as continuous coastal surveillance have led to a much stronger maritime security, authorities said Wednesday, a day on which six years ago the Mumbai terror attack took place.
After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, the Indian Navy took the lead along with the other agencies to increase coastal patrolling of the entire west coast of India and detected potential threats and preventive actions were initiated to ward them off.
As many as 166 people, including 26 foreigners, were gunned down during 60 hours of terror unleashed by 10 Pakistanis who sneaked into Mumbai Nov 26, 2008.
Over a 100 joint exercises among various agencies engaged in coastal security were conducted in all the coastal states to strengthen maritime security.
Modern technical measures like a chain of 74 Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) receivers to seamless cover of the entire coast has been implemented, besides 46 coastal radars on the mainland and the islands.
A second phase of coastal radars is currently under implementation to plug small gaps in some places.
As part of the efforts to beef Maritime Domain Awareness, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the National Command Control Communication & Intelligence Network (NC3I) last Sunday.
The NC3I collates data on all ships, dhows, fishing boats and all other vessels operating near Indian coast from multiple technical sources, including the AIS and the radar chain.
The data is analysed by the Information Management and Analysis Centre, Gurgaon which disseminates a compiled Common Operating Picture for Coastal Security to all 51 nodes of the Indian Navy and coast guard along the Indian coast.
The nodal hub for coastal security implemented by the Indian Navy has proved to be a major step in establishing a ‘coastal security shield’ on the coasts.
Issuing of Identity Cards to all fishermen, registration of over 200,000 fishing vessels, equipping them with suitable equipment, facilitating vessel identification and tracking through a single centralized database have been undertaken.
Officials credit the fisherfolk of becoming the ‘eyes and ears’ of the country’s security architecture after a series of awareness campaigns, including 70 in 2014, by the Western Naval Command alone, carried out post-26/11.
Among other things, fisherfolk are advised not to transgress the International Maritime Boundary and are adept at handling their own Global Positioning Systems to know their positions in the high seas.
Permanent Marine Police Training institutes for professional training have been recently approved for Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and all the Maritime and Coastal Security and related aspects are co-ordinated by the apex National Committee for Strengthening Maritime & Coastal Security (NCSMCS) headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
To prevent recurrences like 26/11, the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Indian Coast Guard are conducting annual five-day Defence of Gujarat Exercise with over 30 ships, submarines and aircraft of these agencies deployed on the western coast.