General Studies IIIInternal Security

Sea Vigil 21


 Indian Navy conducted the second edition of the biennial pan-India coastal defence exercise ‘Sea Vigil 21’ on January 12 and 13.
According to the Navy, the exercise involved the deployment of the entire coastal security apparatus and more than 110 surface assets of Indian Navy (IN) and Coast Guard (CG) participated in the exercise. Also, a large number of Marine Police and Customs assets were deployed.

Sea Vigil 21 Area of Operation:

  • The 2021 exercise is being undertaken along the entire 7516 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India.

    • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as generally extending 200 nautical miles (1NM = 1.8 KM) from shore, within which the coastal state has the right to explore and exploit, and the responsibility to conserve and manage, both living and non-living resources.
    • It involves all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories along with other maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.

      • 13 Coastal States and UTs: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Bay of Bengal) and Lakshadweep Islands (Arabian Sea).
    • Assets of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Customs and other maritime agencies are participating in the Exercise.
    • The Indian Air ForceNational Security Guard, the Border Security Force, oil handling agencies and airports also participate in the exercise.
  • To check the efficacy of the measures initiated to plug gaps in coastal security following the Mumbai terror attack in 2008.
    • Multiple initiatives were set forth, including the National Committee for Coastal and Maritime Security (NCSMCS), creation of Joint Operations Centres (JOC) at Mumbai, Cochin, Visakhapatnam and Port Blair, raising of Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB), installation of the Harbour Defence Surveillance System, setting-up of National Command Control Communication and Intelligence (NC3I) Network.

At the apex level the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS), headed by the Cabinet Secretary, coordinates all matters related to Maritime and Coastal Security.

The Sagar Prahari Bal meaning Ocean Sentinel Force, is a unit of the Indian Navy, formed in March 2009, which is entrusted with the responsibility of patrolling India’s coastal waters. The force consists of 2,000 personnel and is equipped with 80 patrol boats.


  • The exercise is a build up towards the major Theatre level exercise TROPEX (Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercise) which Indian Navy conducts every two years.

    • Sea Vigil and TROPEX together will cover the entire spectrum of maritime security challenges, including transition from peace to conflict.
    • While smaller scale exercises are conducted in coastal states regularly, including combined exercises amongst adjoining states, the conduct of a security exercise at national-level is aimed to serve a larger purpose.

      • It provides opportunity, at the apex level, to assess the country’s preparedness in the domain of maritime security and coastal defence.

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