India's largest coastal defence “Exercise Sea Vigil – 2022” commences - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla

The coastal police received 73 new police stations and was reinforced with 204 interceptor craft – Invader and Hellraiser rigid hull inflatable boats purchased from the Greek company Motomarine

By Vikas Gupta

Trade Standard, Nov 15, 22

With the scars of the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai still fresh, the Navy and Coast Guard will conduct the third and largest edition of the comprehensive Coastal Defense Exercise Sea Vigil – 2022 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the fateful evening of November 26, 2008, 10 heavily armed terrorists from Lashkar-e-Toiba sailed on a small boat to the shore of the city of Mumbai. As they descended from the boat close to their targets, they shot dead 166 people and wounded more than 300.

A stunned navy, tasked with ensuring this never happens again, teamed up with coastguards and police forces from coastal states to set up a coastal defense structure that monitored and guarded the approaches to the coastline Indian of 7,516 kilometers.

In 2018, for the first time, the Navy conceptualized a coastal defense exercise at the national level to validate the various measures put in place to strengthen maritime security since 11/26. The third edition of this exercise will begin tomorrow.

“Coastal security being a major subset of coastal defense, the concept of ‘Exercise Sea Vigil’ is to activate the coastal security apparatus across India and assess the overall coastal defense mechanism “, said the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Monday.

The exercise will be undertaken along the entire 7,516 km coastline, as well as India’s two million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It will involve all coastal states and union territories as well as other maritime actors, including fishing and coastal communities, the Department of Defense said.

“The scale and conceptual scope of the exercise is unprecedented in terms of geographic scope, number of players involved, number of participating units and objectives to be achieved,” the Ministry of Defense said. Defense.

The Sea Vigil exercise is part of the preparation for the biennial operational theater readiness exercise (TROPEX), in which the Navy validates its combat readiness every two years. Together, Sea Vigil and TROPEX will assess the Navy’s responses to the full range of maritime security challenges – from terrorist attacks and piracy to aircraft carrier and submarine operations.

Apart from the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Customs and other maritime agencies, the exercise will also be facilitated by the Ministries of Interior; Navigation ports and waterways; Oil and Natural Gas; fishing, breeding and dairy industry; and other government agencies.

The Ministry of Defense said: “While smaller scale exercises are regularly conducted in coastal states, including combined exercises between neighboring states, the conduct of Exercise Sea Vigil at the national level is intended to serve a purpose wider.”

“Exercise Sea Vigil – 2022 will provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and thus contribute to further strengthening maritime and national security,” the Ministry of Defense said.

Following the attacks of 11/26, the Navy became the primary partner in coastal security, overseeing operations conducted jointly with the Coast Guard.

The government established a Maritime Security Advisory Council, which was to expedite ministerial decision-making in the event of an emergency. A three-star Admiral is appointed as a Maritime Security Advisor (MSA). Joint Operation Centers (JOC) have been established in Kochi, Mumbai, Port Blair and Visakhapatnam.

The Commanders-in-Chief (CinCs) of the three Navy Commands – Western, Southern and Eastern Commands – have also been designated as CinCs Coastal Defense in their respective areas.

A Coastal Command, headed by the Chief Coastguard, was also created to coordinate the activities of central and state agencies, including coastal police forces. 11/26 triggered a major expansion of the Coast Guard, with the force tripling in size in a decade. Over 100 patrollers and aircraft were inducted.

A National Command Network for Real-Time Maritime Domain Awareness was also created, which linked Navy and Coast Guard operations rooms to higher command; a chain of multi-agency static coastal radars and Automatic Identification System (AIS) at 46 sites; and the provision of identification transponders for some 300,000 fishing vessels under 300 tons.

Finally, the government provided for the development of intelligence networks among fishing communities, which were seen as a front line for collecting actionable data. Identity cards have been issued to all fishermen and other inhabitants of coastal villages.

Meanwhile, maritime police forces of coastal states, whose jurisdiction extended five nautical miles offshore, were allocated 73 police stations and a series of outposts. Coastal policing has been bolstered with the acquisition of 204 interceptor boats – a mix of Invader and Hellraiser rigid-hull inflatable boats purchased from the Greek company Motomarine.