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Great progress made in coastal security post 26/11 terror attack, says navy chief

The navy had been made overall in-charge of the maritime security after the 2008 attack.

india Updated: Mar 29, 2017 21:27 IST
PTI, Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu)
Indian Navy,26/11 attack,Defence
Navy chief admiral Sunil Lanba addresses the media during the de-induction of India's long range maritime patrol aircraft, TU-142M, at the INS Rajali Naval Air Station in Arakkonam on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)

The Indian Navy has made great progress in the field of coastal security after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, said navy chief admiral Sunil Lanba on Wednesday.

The navy had been made “overall in-charge” of the maritime security after the 2008 attack and it has been coordinating with the Indian Coast Guard and various state governments’ agencies, including the marine police, over the issue, he said.

A slew of radars and various auto-identification systems and operation centres have been set up across the country’s coastal area along with a command, control and coordination centre in Delhi to monitor all these operation centres, he said.

“We have made great progress in ensuring safety and security of our coasts,” he said at the INS Rajali Naval base, about 90 km from Chennai.

Ten militants of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba had sneaked into Mumbai through sea route on November 26, 2008 and had launched a slew of co-ordinated terror attacks, leaving over 180 people dead.

The incident had exposed the vulnerability of the country coastal security and had triggered urgent calls to overhaul it.

Admiral Lanba was here to attend the de-induction ceremony of Navy’s workhorse patrol aircraft, TU 142M, which has been associated with INS Rajali since 1992.

Naval admiral and chief of the naval staff Sunil Lanba inspects the cadets as they line up in front of a TU 142 M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft during its de-induction ceremony at the INS Rajali Naval Air Station in Arakkonam. ( AFP Photo )

To a question on the Navy’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project which denied induction of homegrown Tejas of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Admiral Lanba said the Indian navy was the first to support Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in developing the aircraft.

“We are committed to an Indian fighter aircraft which can operate from an aircraft carrier. What has happened with the LCA MK-I is (that) it doesn’t meet our requirement to be a carrier-based aircraft. It doesn’t have the correct power to thrust ratio,” he said.

The Indian Navy, however, continues to support and fund ADA and DRDO for developing a carrier-based aircraft, he said adding several Navy personnel are “embedded” in DRDO labs and working along with those scientists.

“So we are there for indigenisation, we are there to Make in India,” the naval chief added.

On Chinese deployment of its submarines in the Indian Ocean, he said “the neighbour” has been doing so since 2013.

In the past four years, there had been six deployments and “whenever they had entered Indian Ocean, we had tracked them and monitored them,” he added.

Navy chief admiral Sunil Lanba at the de-induction of long range maritime patrol aircraft, TU-142 M. ( PTI Photo )

Asked about the vexed fishermen issue in Tamil Nadu, he said they “have been crossing the boundary” and fishing in Lankan waters, but talks were on to resolve the issue.

“This has been going on for a number of years. Indian fishermen have been crossing the maritime boundary and going and fishing in Sri Lankan waters. There has been a dialogue which has been going on, there has also been meetings between fishing associations of the two fishing communities, both Sri Lankan and Tamil Nadu fishing associations,” he said.

“And this is an issue which is a matter in progress and discussions,” Admiral Lanba said.

He said the navy had about 500 women officers in certain branches and that some of them had now started flying in patrol aircrafts. “We are also examining the issue of women serving onboard ships,” he added.

First Published: Mar 29, 2017 21:27 IST