Indian Navy boats keep a watch on Hoogly


Phat Cat
Super Mod
Feb 23, 2009
Country flag
KOLKATA: Next time you are crossing the Hooghly, keep your eyes peeled for two gleaming white speedboats with light-machine guns mounted on their decks. They are part of the Navy's latest acquisition that is being used for surveillance of vessels entering the river from the sea.

For the time being, they are operating along the Hooghly and maintaining watch on possible 'intruders' who may want to carry out a 26/11 like strike on Kolkata. After the monsoons, they will be deployed further downstream to control the movement of vessels at the point where the river flows into the Bay of Bengal.

According to sources, this is part of an enhanced security alert that has been sounded after intelligence agencies warned of a possible 26/11 like attack on other cities. Intelligence reports have pointed to heightened activity by marine units of terror outfits in coastal areas of Pakistan. An attack may not necessarily be carried out on a city in the western coast.

Kolkata can be a possible target as the sea lanes between India and Bangladesh are largely unprotected and pass through the Sunderbans.

"Even Bangladesh is wary of its waterways being used by terror outfits planning to carry out a strike on India. Bangladesh has already enhanced security to maintain a watch of vessels. We have done the same on our side. We have also set up a customs check-post to monitor the entry of vessels into India from Bangladesh. This has reduced the stretch of unprotected area that ships from Bangladesh used to traverse on their way to India. In spite of these measures, monitoring is essential at the mouth of the Hooghly as there are several uncharted waterways in the area. Regular meetings are also being convened to discuss coastal security," a source revealed.

West Bengal has already got a number of small interceptor boats, some of which are moored near the Man-O-War Jetty in Kolkata.

The Navy is also training a Sagar Prahari Bal to man these boats and intercept and board a suspect vessel.

The interceptor speedboats of the Navy are different though. They are better equipped to prevent a terror strike from the sea.

"We have received the two interceptor speed boats for coastal security. One of them is undergoing some repairs at the moment. When the weather improves, they will be deployed further downstream," said Commodore Brian A Thomas, naval-officer-in-charge, West Bengal.

Global Defence

New threads