The exercise codenamed Sea Vigil-21 will provide an opportunity to assess the country’s preparedness in the maritime security and coastal defence domains

India will kick off a major two-day coastal defence exercise on Tuesday, with focus on evaluating the country’s maritime strengths and weaknesses to further bolster its security architecture, the Indian Navy said on Monday.

The Indian Navy will coordinate the second edition of the biennial pan-India maritime drills, codenamed exercise Sea Vigil-21.

“The scale and conceptual expanse of the exercise is unprecedented in terms of the geographical extent, the number of stakeholders involved, the number of units participating and the objectives to be met,” said Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal.

Scores of warships and maritime aircraft are expected to take part in the extensive exercise though the navy did not give out the details of the assets taking part in the high-tempo drills.

The inaugural edition of the exercise was held in January 2019 involved the participation of more than 100 ships, aircraft and patrol boats of different security agencies.

The exercise will be held along the country’s entire 7,516-km coastline and its exclusive economic zone, involving all 13 coastal states and union territories along with other maritime stakeholders such as the fishing and coastal communities, the navy said in a statement.

Assets of the navy, coast guard, customs and other maritime agencies will participate in the exercise.

“The exercise is a build up towards the major theatre-level exercise Tropex (Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercise) which Indian Navy conducts every two years. Sea Vigil and Tropex together will cover the entire spectrum of maritime security challenges, including transition from peace to conflict,” Commander Madhwal said.

While exercises at a smaller scale are conducted in coastal states regularly, Sea Vigil stands out because of its sheer scale and complexity. India revamped its coastal security architecture after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and security drills have been conducted regularly over the years to test the preparedness of security agencies to ward off maritime threats.

Sea Vigil-21 will provide an opportunity to assess the country’s preparedness in the maritime security and coastal defence domains, Commander Madhwal said.

“It will provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and thus will help in further strengthening maritime and national security,” he added.