The Indian Navy on Tuesday kicked off a two-day multi-agency exercise called ‘Sea Vigil’ along the nation’s entire 7,516-km coastline including island territories and the 2 million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The drill is aimed at thwarting 26/11-like Mumbai terror attacks in the country.

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The official Twitter account of the Indian Navy Spokesperson posted a statement, saying “#IndianNavy in coordination with all #Maritime stakeholders commences 2nd edition of #ExSeaVigil, largest biennial pan-India #Coastal Defence exercise involving 13 states & UTs, spanning over 7500 km of #Indian coastline & entire Exclusive Economic Zone of (India).”

Considered the largest-ever coastal defense exercise, Sea Vigil is a build-up towards the major combat exercise TROPEX (theater-level readiness operational exercise).

The TROPEX will see India’s western and eastern fleets in high-voltage sea manoeuvers in January-end and early February.

“Sea Vigil and TROPEX together will cover the entire spectrum of maritime security challenges, including the transition from peace to conflict. Assets of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Customs, and other maritime agencies will participate in Sea Vigil,” the Navy said in a statement.

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Indian Navy ships

This is the second time since January of 2019 that the nation-wide Sea Vigil exercise is being carried out to thwart 26/11-like terror attacks.

“The entire coastal security set up was reorganized after the 26/11 attack at Mumbai, which was launched via the sea route. The scale and conceptual expanse of Sea Vigil this year is unprecedented 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,” said Navy spokesperson, Commander Vivek Madhwal, on Monday (January 11).

Sea Vigil will involve all the 13 coastal states as well as the Union Territories, along with other maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.

“While smaller-scale exercises are conducted in coastal states regularly, including combined exercises amongst adjoining states, the conduct of a security exercise at national-level is aimed to serve a larger purpose,” Madhwal said.

“It provides an opportunity, at the apex level, to assess our preparedness in the domain of maritime security and coastal defense. Sea Vigil will provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses, and thus will help in further strengthening maritime and national security,” he added.

The deadly attack of 26/11 had exposed the lack of “critical connectivity” between intelligence agencies and security agencies.

While there were some intelligence inputs regarding the terrorists’ attempts to infiltrate by the fishing vessel ‘Kuber’ prior to the incident, the fact was that the tip-off did slip through the cracks and the incident happened.

Ten militants, including Ajmal Kasab, trained by the Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT and officials in the Pakistani security establishment, launched coordinated attacks at 12 locations in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, killing around 166 people.


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