National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 11 November 2019
A two-day Coastal Security Exercise Sagar Kavach was conducted by, the District Headquarters of District No 4 of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) from 11 to 12 Nov 19 off the coast of Kerala, Mahe and Lakshadweep Islands to assess the preparedness of all agencies towards dealing with an asymmetric threat emanating from the sea. Besides the ICG, the exercise had participation of Indian Navy, Coastal Police, Coastal District Administration, Cochin Port, Fisheries Department, Customs, Marine Enforcement Wing (MEW), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Light house Department, State Police, MMD, Immigration Department and Kadalora Jagiratha Samithi. More than 80 ships and patrol craft/boats of all the Coastal Security agencies were marshalled for round-the-clock patrolling of the seas. Extensive aerial surveillance of the adjoining seas was also mounted by aircraft, helicopters and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to detect ships and vessels of the opposing force.
Participating units were divided in two teams, attack (Red) and Defence (Blue) forces. Attack team simulated as terrorists and attempted to infiltrate into coastal areas while Defence team undertook coastal security surveillance by intercepting and neutralizing infiltration attempts. The Kadlora Jagritha Samithi played an important role in the exercise where in, fishermen were encouraged to intimate any unknown vessel operating close coast to ICG.
Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, AVSM, NM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command who is also the Commander-in-Chief, Coastal Defence, undertook a review of the progress of exercise, with all the concerned stakeholders on 11 Nov at the Joint Operations Centre, Kochi. Representatives of participating agencies attended the review. Important issues such as multi-layer security, infiltration from seaward, security of harbours, along Kerala coast, availability of boats for day-to-day patrolling by various agencies and security of Lakshadweep islands were discussed.
Coastal security exercise is conducted biannually since 2009 with 22 exercises having been conducted till date. The exercise plays vital role and brings together the central/ state stakeholders and helps in strengthening coastal security mechanism. Regular conduct of exercise by Indian Coast guard with all stake holders over a period of time has synergized the efforts to ensure an effective coastal security frame work.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.