New Delhi: Not ruling out the possibility of another 26/11-type attack, Coast Guard today said small fishing boats were still a “threat” to the country’s coastal security.
Addressing a press conference here on the eve of the 37th Coast Guard anniversary, Director General (Coast Guard) Vice Admiral Anurag Thapliyal said the force was making efforts to fill in the existing “gaps” in the coastal security network.
“The efforts are ongoing but one cannot rule out the possibilities. You know the terrorist is always trying to find some out-of-box thinking. But we are quite sure that we have been able to mount surveillance in our areas very well. There are still some gaps but we hope to fill them with the Coastal Security Network-II,” he said.
Thapliyal was asked if 26/11-type terror attacks, in which 10 Pakistani terrorists had attacked Mumbai using the sea route and killed more than 165 persons besides injuring scores of others in November 2008, were still possible.
The Coast Guard chief said the government has already spent over Rs 600 crore for setting up the coastal security network under phase one and is looking to spend over Rs 650 crore more in the second phase of the programme.
Asked if boats such as the MV Kuber, which was used by the terrorists to attack Mumbai, could be detected, the Coast Guard chief said, “These boats, which have engines but can mingle around with fishing boats, they do pose a threat to us… These kind of boats are of concern to us and we have to address it.”
He said the force was now using the fishermen along the coastal areas as their eyes and ears as they know the regular fishermen and can report to the agencies concerned if they detect any suspicious activity.
Thapliyal said there were more than two lakh fishing boats operating in the country and more than 70,000 of them venture into the sea every day and it was difficult to track their every movement.