Indian Navy Set For Biggest Defence Exercise Commemorating 26/11 Mumbai Attacks

The Indian Navy will be organizing a massive coastal defence exercise on completion of ten years of 26/11 attack on Mumbai. The largest coastal defence exercise – ‘Exercise SEA VIGIL’ is scheduled for two days i.e. January 22 and 23.

This exercise will be undertaken along the entire 7,516 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India. It will involve all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories, apart from maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.

The scale of the exercise is extraordinary in terms of the geographical extent, the number of stakeholders involved, the number of units participating and in terms of the objectives to be met. The official statement from India Navy stated that the exercise is a build-up towards the major Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX) that Indian Navy conducts every two years.

Hence, SEA VIGIL and TROPEX will together cover the entire spectrum of maritime security. Its conduct is being encouraged by the Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, Shipping, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Fisheries, Customs, State Governments and other agencies of Centre/State.

Post 26/11, Indian Navy appointed as the agency responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security. The Indian Coast Guard is the agency responsible for coastal security in territorial waters.

In the aftermath of 26/11, a whole-of-Government approach to maritime security was adopted and a large number of measures were taken by stakeholders. At the apex level, the National Committee on Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS) was established to review important matters related to coastal security and effective Centre-State coordination.

At the operational level, it included setting up of Joint Operations Centers (JOCs) of the Navy and Coastal Security Operations Centers of the Indian Coast Guard. A multi-tiered patrol and surveillance mechanism with a focus on technical surveillance and augmenting of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through the coastal-radar chain and other systems were adopted. Real-time information sharing through the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence (NC31) Network, greater intelligence and operational coordination were made the focus areas.

Exercise SEA VIGIL aims to simultaneously activate the coastal security mechanism across all States and Union Territories. It will go beyond the coast, covering the islands and hinterland too. Multi-agency audit and identification of gaps, shortfalls, and incorporation of lessons learned in SOPs are also the desired outcomes.

The press release from Indian Navy stated that the exercise is being conducted under the supervision of Commander-in-Chief, Coastal Defence, Southern Naval Command, Kochi and will be monitored from the Joint Operations Centre, Kochi.

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