The well-coordinated multiple terror-strikes carried out with cold-blooded precision in south Mumbai have left the nation shocked and puzzled. The assailants infiltrated Mumbai via the sea, and understandably, quizzical looks are being cast on the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard. The Customs department has woken up to threats and has increased an additional 109 new boats. Nine of them were commissioned near Indira Dock. Ever since the Indo-Pakistan international boundary and, subsequently, the line of control in Jammu & Kashmir were fenced off, the two sea services Indian Navy and Coastal Guard have been acutely conscious that the sea now presented a multiplicity of relatively safe and viable alternate routes for those wishing to infiltrate from the West. The coasts of Saurashtra, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Konkan have a shallow gradient and long stretches of uninhabited beaches where a landing can be affected with ease, and hostile elements can fan out inland for nefarious activities. That is what happened in 1993 when the Indian “mafia” landed tons of arms and explosives by boat near Ratnagiri and Raigad and even after 15 years to that, last month terrorists entered the city with utmost ease through the sea. However, this time the public outburst to the failure of intelligence, Indian Navy, Coastal Guard and Maharashtra police force has woken up the center and state from its deep slumber. As a result 109 vessels have been ordered by the center. The fleet will cost Rs. 358 Crore. The vessels, which are in three sizes, are being constructed by shipbuilding companies from Singapore and Malaysia. About 31 of the vessels have already been delivered and will be used for coastal patrolling in the western and eastern coastal areas. Central Board of Excise and Customs Chairman PC Jha, said that the three category I vessels commissioned will be used for the patrolling near Mumbai, Okha and Umargaon covering 600 km of the coastal area. He added that the second lot of 21 category I vessels -with the speed limit of 24 nautical miles per hour – will be delivered by April 2010. Jha also said that the department could concentrate on security measures. Even though the state has pulled up its socks after the ghastly Mumbai terror attacks, it’s a wait and watch whether the enthusiastic security measures being taken by the center and state is diligently executed at the coastline. For the security of the home front seashore falls squarely on the shoulders of the state and center’s administration which must create marine police wings, backed by sound local intelligence if at all it is serious about the safety and security of the citizens of the state. Sana Warsoa – NMTV News.
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