From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Ex Sea Vigil
Mains level : Holistic security of India's maritime domain
In a related development, the third edition of the ‘pan-India’ coastal defence Exercise ‘Sea Vigil-22’ is scheduled to be held on November 15 and 16.
Ex- Sea Vigil-22
- The Exercise was conceptualised in 2018 to validate various measures that have been instituted towards enhancing maritime security since ‘26/11’.
- The exercise aims to test its preparedness along the entire 7,516.6 km-long-coastline and exclusive economic zone of the country.
- It aims to comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since 26/11.
- It aims to simultaneously activate the coastal security mechanism across all 13 coastal States and Union Territories.
- This involves the evaluation of critical areas and processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance.
- Multi agency audit and identification of gaps, shortfalls and incorporation of lessons learnt into Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are also the desired outcomes.
Role of Indian Navy
- Post 26/11, the Navy was designated as the agency responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security.
- The Coast Guard was designated as the agency responsible for coastal security in territorial waters.
- A multi-tiered patrol and surveillance mechanism with focus on technical surveillance and augmenting Maritime Domain Awareness through the coastal radar chain was adopted.
- Progress has been made in real-time information sharing through the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence (NC3I) Network and improving intelligence and operational coordination.
Significance of the exercise
- The exercise is a build up towards the major Theatre Level Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX), which the Indian Navy conducts every two years.
- Sea Vigil and TROPEX together will cover the entire spectrum maritime security challenges.
Progress till now
- Verification and monitoring of a large number of fishing vessels in India has been greatly eased by the creation of the online ReALCraft (Registration and Licensing of Fishing Craft).
- The process of installing transponders on sub-20 metre boats commenced with a pilot project in Tamil Nadu for 5,000 vessels is underway.
- To allay the concerns of fishermen, the transponders with GPS have been modified into a two-way communication system.
- An Automatic Identification System (AIS) was made compulsory for all vessels above 20 metres after the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
- Trials were conducted in association with the ISRO on one of their communication satellites last year along the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
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