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To tighten the existing coastal security mechanism along the 630-odd km long coastline along Odisha and its neighbouring West Bengal, the governments of both the states are scheduled to hold a joint security exercise named as ‘Sagar Kavach’ in a week’s time.

Speaking in this connection, Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Asit Tripathy, said, “Sagar Kavach security exercise is a realistic drill to check the efficacy of the security parameters and preparedness of various security forces like the Indian Navy, Marine police force, Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Forest Department, Fisheries and district administration. This is the first time that Odisha is having a joint security drill with West Bengal. During the two-day drill, we are going to organise a simulated terror attack named ‘red force’ at a random place along Odisha or West Bengal coast and check how effective our marine policing is?” Tripathy said.

The participants in the joint drill will include personnel from the Indian Navy, Coast Guard Paradip and Haldia, 18 marine police stations in Odisha and 12 police stations of West Bengal. Similarly for the first time since the security exercises were initiated by the Indian Navy and ICG, teams of Customs and port officials, fisheries department officials have also been made a part of the security drill.

“The drill is to revaluate the existing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) mechanisms. All stakeholders who participated in the meeting were made aware about exercise settings and other SOPs. The coast guard, and all the security forces, even the district administrations have been very helpful and proactive towards coastal security. After the drill we will review if there are any loopholes,” West Bengal Coast Guard Commander MA Warsi said.
 
Every year, each state with a coastline in the Indian peninsula organises two such security exercises, one involves the personal coastal security assessment and the other, a joint drill with any other participant, necessarily another state during which the government takes stock of preparedness of maritime policing. The drill aims at strengthening the stakeholders to coordinate well in time of emergency especially during terror attacks through sea routes.