The Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the West Bengal Police held a mock drill along the coast of the Sunderbans delta, 100 km south of Kolkata, to test the alertness of various security agencies.
The security forces “arrested” 11 of their colleagues posing as terrorists during the exercise from four places in the area — Haldia, Namkhana, Kakdwip and Diamond Harbour.
Sources said the area was chosen for the exercise because the possibility of terrorist infiltration across the porous India-Bangladesh border, particularly the unmanned and inaccessible river network of the Sunderbans, was high.
“The terrain is such that militants can enter through the coastal areas of South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore. They can come from Bangladesh to reach the mouth of the Bay of Bengal from where the road access to Kolkata is easy. The purpose of the drill is to plug possible chinks in the wall,” said a senior officer who did not want to be named.
The exercise, conducted under the aegis of the Union Home and Defence ministries, is part of nationwide efforts aimed at boosting coastal security. It started on Monday morning and will continue on Tuesday and employ the resources of the navy, ICG, police, customs department and other related agencies, a senior defence officer associated with the drill said.
The Union government has been holding similar exercises in the coastal states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The 26/11 Mumbai attacks, in which terrorists used the sea route to attack the city, had exposed holes in the country’s coastal security.