Post 26/11 attacks, ports await marine commandos
More than five years after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks bared the chinks in India’s maritime security, a contingent of marine commandos waits to be deployed at various ports.
“We secure 12 ports all over the country, but we have been able to deploy our marine commandos only at the Paradip port in Odisha, as the rest of the ports are yet to provide us all-weather patrol boats,” said a senior official of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), who requested anonymity.
CISF sources said the commando contingent was raised after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to tackle seaborne attacks on ports but the force needs all-weather boats to deploy the commandos. The boats are costly, but as the 26/11 attacks showed the country’s vulnerability in a seaborne attack, high cost should not become an impediment for security.
“Port authorities have argued that these patrol boats are very expensive and we agree with it but the 26/11 attacks have exposed our vulnerability with regard to a seaborne attack,” said the CISF official.
So far only Paradip port has provided the patrol boat to the CISF therefore a team of 30 commandos has been deployed there to guard the port which is one of the most important sea cargo facility on eastern coast of the country. In the case of Mumbai port, the CISF wants to guard the marine terminal where large vessels offload crude oil as they also might be vulnerable to a seaborne attack but the proposal is yet to be implemented, said sources.
The oil companies are not ready to bear the cost for deployment. The CISF had raised the marine commando contingent at the National Security Academy with the help of Indian Navy.