Millennium Post

India better prepared, more organised 10 years after 26/11 attack, says Navy Chief

New Delhi: India is better prepared and better organised since a group of sea-borne terrorists struck at the heart of Mumbai 10 years back, thanks to a string of security measures including layered maritime surveillance, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba has said.

We have come a long way since then, he said in an interview in his office in South Block on the 10th anniversary of the 26/11.

The Navy Chief said there had been a paradigm shift in coastal security as vulnerabilities and risks were fixed, and a layered maritime surveillance and security architecture was put in place, making the coastline almost impregnable.

"The country is now better prepared and better organised, Adm. Lanba said when asked about the possibility of terrorists taking the sea route to mount a similar attack on India.

He said the India Navy is now a potent multi-dimensional force, safeguarding India's interests in the seas and that it is entirely prepared to deal with any security challenge facing the country in the maritime domain.

On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai through the sea, arriving by boat from Karachi, and went on the rampage, carrying out coordinated attacks on the main Chattrapati Shivaji railway terminus, the iconic Taj Mahal hotel, the Trident hotel, and a Jewish centre all in the heart of the financial capital's downtown area.

Over 166 people including 28 foreigners from 10 nations were killed in the nearly 60-hour assault that sent shock-waves across the country and even brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

The terrorist strike, the worst in India's history, was seen as an attack on the country's sovereignty, and it exposed fault-lines in the coastal security network, intelligence gathering while also uncovering the lack of coordination among various agencies.

Adm. Lanba, who is also chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, said critical gaps and vulnerabilities in the country's coastal infrastructure had been addressed, and that a robust surveillance network comprising 42 radar stations linked to a control centre headquartered Gurgaon has been put in place.

The Navy Chief said data about ships, dhows, mechanised trawlers, fishing boats and all other vessels operating near India's coasts are analysed round-the-clock.

Standard operating procedures have been formulated for coastal and offshore security among various institutions including the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard and agencies concerned of the coastal states to streamline the efforts of multiple stakeholders. ( With PTI inputs)

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