India’s coastal security

Governments may congratulate themselves on the ‘comparatively better’ coastal security since the 26/11 attack, but we are safe more because of the shifting priorities and calculus of our enemies, than because of any dramatic reduction in our vulnerabilities.

Post 26/11, coastal security has improved marginally

By Ajai Sahni

A Russian yacht recently entered Indian waters without authorisation and, undetected, dropped anchor barely 500 metres from the shore near a location no less prominent than the Gateway of India in Mumbai. Till this point, it had escaped security scrutiny. This is eight and a half years after the 26/11 attacks, which were initiated after infiltration from the sea, and after coastal security was declared to be one of India’s highest counter-terrorism priorities.

The 390-tonne US-owned Seaman Guard Ohio, operated undetected as an illegal anti-piracy ‘floating armoury’ in Indian waters for 45 days, prior to its detention off Tuticorin on the Tamil Nadu coastline on October 12, 2013, while illicitly refuelling on subsidised diesel.

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