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Indian Navy begins training coastal patrol force


New Delhi : The Indian Navy Monday began training the first batch of the Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) coastal patrol force formed in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to prevent their recurrence, an official said.

“The training for the first batch commenced today (Monday) at the Naval Gunnery School INS Dronacharya (at Kochi),” an Indian Navy spokesperson said.

The first batch will comprise of 15 officers and 100 men. The three-week course would be conducted every six months.

The force will eventually have a strength of 120 officers and 1,000 men and be equipped with 80 Fast Interception Craft (FIC). Its charter of duties include coastal protection, seaward security of coastal and offshore naval assets, assistance to civil agencies and ensuring compliance of maritime regulations.

SPB personnel will be drawn from within the Indian Navy and will serve for a fixed tenure. The force will maintain a youthful profile and will undergo specialized training in asymmetric warfare and low intensity maritime operations.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony had last February announced the setting up of the force, along with a slew of measures to secure the country’s 7,516 km-long coastline.

The Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks had exposed the vast coastline as the country’s Achilles heel after 10 armed terrorists sneaked into the city from the sea and went on a killing spree that left 166 people, including 26 foreigners, dead.