36-hr drill to check coastal security preparedness | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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36-hr drill to check coastal security preparedness

mumbai Updated: Apr 13, 2011 02:16 IST
Surabhi Vaya
Surabhi Vaya
Hindustan Times
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For the third time since the 26/11 attacks, the Indian Navy, coast guard and the Mumbai Police jointly conducted a series of exercises to evaluate their preparedness in dealing with potential infiltration bids from the city’s coast.

The 36-hour drill called Sagar Kavach, which is conducted twice every year, began on Monday morning. Officers from around 25 police stations that patrol the city’s coasts joined ranks with the Navy and the coast guard in a mock exercise.

“The drill comprises a series of simulated situations where joint teams attempt to send dummy infiltrators or mock terror vessels and the other combined teams try to intercept them,” said Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (Port Zone).

According to the police, the joint teams conducted several operations across the city. “These included attempts to plant bombs in the city or even hijacking vessels from the outer anchorage,” said Khalid.

The teams working to prevent the infiltrators thwarted nine mock attacks at various places in the city. “We caught a team of infiltrators, before they could plant a bomb on the Bandra-Worli sea link,” said Khalid.

Naval officials told HT that teams also attempted to enter the city through different landing points along the coasts. “One team managed to successfully hijack a vessel from the outer anchorage. This gave us feedback about the security lapse and the gaps that needed to be plugged,” said Khalid.

As part of the drill, the teams also practiced impromptu threat assessments and security checks of areas such as the Bombay Stock Exchange, CST, and the Mumbai Port.

“We had to ensure that we had access to intelligence at the grassroots such as fishermen. In two cases, the mock infiltrators were caught because of information that they gave us,” said a Naval officer on the condition of anonymity.

“The idea behind the drill is ensure that we are prepared for different situations. This requires an immediate assessment of the situation, and quick mobilisation of resources,” said a Naval officer.

A feedback session will be organised on Wednesday to assess the teams’ performance. “We will also discuss how to deal with security lapses,” said the Naval officer.