All stakeholders involved in strengthening India’s coastal defence

Ebangla Bureau 

The second edition of the biennial pan-India coastal defence exercise ‘Sea Vigil-21’ post the first one two years ago will be conducted on 12-13 January 2021 along India’s entire 7,516 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone spread over  all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories . The massive Exercise involving all stakeholders including the fishing and coastal communities will provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and thus will help in further strengthening maritime and national security, says an official statement. It also provides an  opportunity, at the apex level, to assess our preparedness in the domain of maritime security and coastal defence.  The exercise is being coordinated by the Indian Navy . The entire coastal security set up was reorganised after the 26/11 Terror attack at Mumbai which was launched via the sea route along with other maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.    The scale and conceptual expanse of the exercise 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. The exercise is a build up towards the major Theatre level exercise TROPEX [Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercise] which Indian Navy conducts every two years. SEA VIGIL and TROPEX together will cover the entire spectrum of maritime security challenges, including transition from peace to conflict. Assets of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Customs and other maritime agencies will participate in SEA VIGIL, the conduct of which is also being facilitated by the Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, Shipping, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Fisheries, Customs, State Governments and other agencies of Centre/ State.    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. 

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