‘Operation Sajag,’ a comprehensive drill was conducted by the Indian Coast Guard along the west coast on September 18, 2023. It is a significant event in the realm of coastal security. This operation involves all stakeholders in the coastal security construct and plays a pivotal role in revalidating the coastal security mechanism while enhancing awareness among fishermen operating at sea.
A Unified Effort
During ‘Operation Sajag,’ an extensive checking and verification process was initiated, targeting the documents and crew passes of all fishing boats, barges, and crafts at sea. The sheer scale of this operation is evident from the participation of 118 ships, including vessels from Customs, Marine Police, Ports, and the Indian Navy. This unified effort demonstrates the commitment of various agencies to ensure the safety and security of India’s coastal regions.
Enhancing Coastal Security Measures
To fortify the coastal security construct, several measures have been incorporated, addressing various facets of the issue:
Biometric Cards for Fishermen: One significant step is the issuance of biometric cards for fishermen. These cards help in the identification and tracking of fishermen, ensuring that only authorized individuals engage in fishing activities.
Color Coding for Fishing Boats: Fishing boats are now color-coded based on their respective states. This measure aids in quick identification and verification, reducing the risk of unauthorized vessels operating in Indian waters.
Manning of Fish Landing Centers: Fish landing centers are now manned to monitor and regulate the activities of fishing vessels. This increased presence ensures that all activities are conducted lawfully.
Access Control at Entry/Exit Points: Entry and exit checkpoints have been fortified with access control mechanisms. This prevents unauthorized vessels from entering or leaving Indian waters unnoticed.
Coastal Mapping: Accurate coastal mapping has been implemented, facilitating better surveillance and monitoring of coastal areas.
Designated Marine Band Frequency: Specific marine band frequencies have been allocated for security agencies, enabling secure communication and coordination among them.
Training Initiatives: The Indian Coast Guard has taken the initiative to train marine police personnel. This training ensures that these officers are well-equipped to handle various security situations in coastal regions.
Biometric Card Readers for Security Agencies
In an effort to streamline the identification process, biometric card readers have been issued to security agencies. This technology allows for quick and efficient verification of fishermen, further enhancing the security apparatus.
Community Interaction and Island Security
The coastal security construct now includes community interaction programs and initiatives for island security. These efforts involve local communities in the safeguarding of their coastal areas, creating a sense of shared responsibility.
‘Operation Sajag’ is not a one-time event. It is conducted on a monthly basis to consistently verify the implementation of various coastal security measures. This ongoing commitment to testing and refining the security mechanisms ensures that they remain effective and up-to-date. The drill also serves as a platform for the identification of important lessons and the highlighting of trends in coastal security.