Based on intelligence inputs from the Indian Coast Guard that Pakistan trained commandos are likely to infiltrate through Kutch area especially through the sea route, the Indian maritime forces are on high alert. The alert comes close on the heels of the heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir post nullifying of Article 370 of the Constitution.
Sharing his views on this alert, Commodore Anil Jai Singh (retd) said that "This is not entirely unexpected. Pakistan’s and its terror outfits desperation is showing. They have to be seen doing something and a maritime attack will grab international attention."
The Naval Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, a couple of days ago had mentioned that intelligence reports indicated that terrorist threat from seawards is possible, which is being monitored closely. This advisory is based on a Coast Guard warning and in accordance with the ISPS Code; Level 1 has been initiated which increases the level of alertness by ships, port authorities, etc."
The Naval chief had said that intelligence which had been received suggested that Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), is training terrorists to carry out underwater attack.
On Thursday morning alert has been sounded in Gujarat state and authorities have been directed to maintain tight security. Both Mundra and Kandla Ports in Gujarat, and the ships which are currently berthed at Kandla port have been advised "maintain terror watch.''
Besides the alert on the sea, there is an advisory to remain vigilant on the shore too, and have been urged to report all suspicious activity to be reported to the Marine Control Station which is the nerve centre for all maritime forces.
In 2017, reports indicated that Pakistan Special Service Group is perhaps training JeM men to carry out attacks on the Indian Navy's underwater assets.
In January this year, the Indian Navy and along with Coast Guard had carried out the largest coastal Defence exercise off the Indian Coast. Codenamed `Exercise Sea Vigil' in an effort to test the robustness of the entire coastal security apparatus. This was along the coastline of 7516.6 km & Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India.
Soon after 26/11 attack in 2008 for the first time, terrorists entered India through the sea route. After this the government at the Centre and the State level has set up a number of steps to build coastal security capacity and capability of all stakeholders.
What is Maritime Security?
'Maritime security', pertains to all issues that relate to the seas and gives freedom to pursue and promote national interests by the sea. According to the Navy Chief Admiral Singh, "Maritime security entails provision of a secure environment, at and from the seas, that fosters national growth."
Earlier this month, the Indian Navy had confirmed that the Eastern and the Western seaboards were in a state of high alert. The surveillance was being maintained through strategically positioned radars.