Exercise SEA VIGIL : realistic assessment of strengths and weakness

Exercise SEA VIGIL

Ten years after 26/11 Mumbai Attack, the Indian Navy commenced the largest coastal defence exercise off the Indian coast today. Exercise SEA VIGIL, a first of its kind, is being undertaken along more than seven thousand five hundred kilometers coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India , involving all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories along with all airtime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.

Motive behind the exercise SEA VIGIL is to do realistic assessment of strengths and weakness and that will help further strengthening of maritime security and in turn country’s security.

Exercise SEA VIGIL aims to comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since 26/11 Mumbai attack. Attacker Pakistani terrorists reached the economic capital of India through sea through route 2008.

According to a press release, Seaward monitoring during the exercise will entail patrolling off coast, in Offshore Development Areas and off our islands by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, supported by the State Marine Police. Closer coast, strategic assets, ports, Single Point Moorings (SPMs) will be patrolled by designated agencies. Seaward monitoring will also entail inputs from technical means, including intelligence sources. Shore-based monitoring will entail enhanced vigil by the State Police along the coast; monitoring of fish landing centres by state fisheries departments; as also monitoring of port areas by respective port authorities.

The exercise aims to simultaneously activate the coastal security mechanism across all States and Union Territories. The exercise will cover a wide frontage covering for the first time the entire coast of India, including island territories. The exercise will also go deeper, being spread over seaward, coastal, and hinterland areas.

Evaluation of critical areas and processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance will be undertaken. Multi Agency Audit and identification of gaps, shortfalls and incorporation of lessons learnt into SOPs are also the desired outcomes.

The scale 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 tri-service 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, including transition from peace to conflict.

All Operational assets of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard are participating in the SEA VIGIL. The conduct of the exercise SEA VIGIL is also being facilitated by the Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, Shipping, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Fisheries, Customs, State Governments and other agencies.