Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Indian Navy holds mega coastal drill

With both conventional and unconventional threats on the west coast figuring high on India's radar screen, the Navy is undertaking a major coastal defence exercise on the western seaboard.
Called the 'Defence of Gujarat Exercise', the wargames are being conducted under the aegis of the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command (WNC), with over 20 destroyers, frigates, corvettes, minesweepers and submarines, as also maritime fighters, aircraft and helicopters.

"The aim is to practice combat manoeuvres to defend coastal areas as well as vital offshore assets like oil refineries from any external threat. The week-long exercise is testing the operational readiness of the WNC in relation to littoral combat," said an official.

"Coast Guard patrol vessels, integrated into the operations, are playing a key part in providing multiple layers of defensive surveillance. In addition to ships, the exercise also involves intense flying activity by TU-142M, IL-38SD and Dornier patrol aircraft as well as Searcher and Heron UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)," he added.

After the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai, several measures have been taken to boost 'coordination' in intelligence-sharing and operational matters among different maritime agencies like Navy and Coast Guard, with joint operation centres being set up in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair.

Under this, Navy and Coast Guard have been holding drills to bolster coastal security all along the east and west coasts. "We have conducted exercises, state-by-state, with all agencies concerned like Customs, state marine police forces, Intelligence Bureau, port authorities and the like," said an officer.

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