While the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, and the Mumbai Police were able to successfully resolve several issues that came to light after the first two editions of Sagar Kavach, a biannual coastal security drill, the biggest problem - lack of resources -remained unresolved.
Officials from the Coast Guard said lack of equipment was identified as a problem area in both the previous drills. "Problems such as coordination between different participating agencies were resolved this time. But the lack of equipment delayed some teams," said commandant Arun Singh of the Coast Guard.
According to police officers who participated in the 36-hour drill they were unable to act on intelligence due to lack of resources. Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police, Port Zone, said: "We received intelligence about 'infiltrators' landing in Juhu. Although we managed to thwart them, lack of speedboats caused a delay in our response."
Sagar Kavach is a maritime security exercise conducted to check the preparedness and alertness of various agencies in dealing with potential infiltration bids. The drill comprises a series of simulated situations where joint teams of the navy, Coast Guard and the police try to send dummy infiltrators or a mock terror vessel and other teams try to prevent and intercept them.
Khalid told HT that the teams playing the role of infiltrators made nine attempts on multiple fronts. "In the last two drills, they made three or four attempts. This time they made more attempts, which made lack of resources an even more pressing matter," he said.
According to Coast Guard officials, coordination between all the agencies was smoother this year. "There has been a significant improvement in the communication network amongst the officers compared to the previous drills," Singh said.
"By doing simple things, like cultivating fisherman as our contact base, patrolling can be done effectively. We managed to foil two mock operations based on the information we received," said Khalid.