Maritime drill to ring in Hindu new year in Goa

Panaji, April 10 (IANS) For Goa, the Hindu New Year will begin Thursday with an extensive multi-agency drill off the state’s coast to test maritime security, an official said Wednesday.

The two-day drill, code-named ‘Sagar Kavach’, will involve the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, State Marine Police, Customs, fisheries, port authorities and other central and state departments.

“The objective of this exercise is to provide seamless seaward cover along the Goa coast jointly by all security agencies from the coastal belt area line to the limit of territorial waters, i.e. 12 nautical miles,” a Goa government spokesperson said.

“The exercise will also assess the effectiveness of coastal fishing community in serving as ‘eyes and ears’ for early warning of seaward threat,” he said, adding that even lifeguards on Goa’s beaches would be pressed into service.

“The use of the sea route by terrorists to Mumbai has highlighted the vulnerability of our coastline and the lacunae in our existing security mechanism,” the spokesperson said.

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