April 22, 2021
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Protecting shores
Role of OPVs and tankers

Given the huge seascape that surrounds peninsular India’s 7500 km coastline, the combined maritime assets of the Indian Navy, the Indian Coastguard, the Sagar Prahari Bal and inshore patrol boats with the State governments are woefully inadequate as is evident from the almost daily seizure of Indian fishing boats and fishermen by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Mumbai attack on 26/11/2008 for which the Pakistani terrorists used the sea route to infiltrate into the city exposed a huge security gap in India’s defences. In spite of all the changes that have been introduced after that attack the danger to Mumbai is still palpable as can be gauged from the episode of a merchant ship that had been abandoned as far across the Arabian Sea as Oman. It drifted across the north Arabian Sea and landed up, undetected, on the Mumbai beach. The very same phenomenon that helped the ghost ship reach Mumbai – the ocean currents – can be used by Pakistan to float mines into Indian territorial waters. With a paucity of mine counter-measure vessels India will find it
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