‘Ter­ror­ists’ sneak into the city 26/11-style, forces fail to foil plan

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ari­tra Hazra ari­tra.hazra@hin­dus­tan­times.com

As Mum­bai re­mem­bered the vic­tims of the 26/ 11 terror at­tacks this week, five teams of ‘ter­ror­ists’ in­fil­trated the city through five spots on its coast­line just days ear­lier.

They sneaked in just like the Lashkar- e- Taiba ( LeT) op­er­a­tives did in 2008, when they un­leashed one of the dead­li­est terror at­tacks Mum­bai has seen.

Only, th­ese five teams con­sisted coast guard per­son­nel, who as part of a Sa­gar Kavach ex­er­cise, were test­ing how se­cure Mum­bai’s coast really is. Not a sin­gle gov­ern­ment author­ity, how­ever, was able to stop them, and the fish­ing com­mu­nity — sen­si­tised by of­fi­cials to the threat af­ter 26/11 — failed to spot them.

Po­lice sources said the ex­er­cise high­lighted how the state still showed a care­less ap­proach to­wards coastal se­cu­rity.

“There was a gap in our de­fences, which was ex­ploited by the red team of coast guard per­son­nel,” said a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer who was part of the ex­er­cise. The ‘red team’ the of­fi­cer is re­fer­ring to con­sisted of coast guard per­son­nel act­ing as ter­ror­ists, while a ‘blue team’ acted as the se­cu­rity per­son­nel.

Coast guard of­fi­cials, who have been con­duct­ing the ex­er­cise since 2009, said, while this showed a lack of pre­pared­ness, the over­all co-or­di­na­tion be­tween mar­itime se­cu­rity agen­cies and the state had im­proved since the at­tacks.

CON­TIN­UED ON P10

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