Counter-Terrorism Current Affairs - 2020

Apharan: Indian Navy’s largest anti-hijacking exercise

On Decebmer 18, 2019, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard at Cochin port conducted large scale anti-hijacking exercise. The exercise was called Apharan.

Highlights

Multiple agencies participated in the exercise. It included 12 ships and helicopters of Cochin Port trust, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. This is the first time an anti-hijacking exercise is being conducted at a large scale in India and in the port of Cochin.

During the exercise, insertion of Marine Commandos (MarCos) into the hijacked vessel through boarding operations and slithering into the deck from a Sea King helicopter were demonstrated.

Significance

The exercise acted as a platform for the stakeholders to identify gaps and self-assess the preparedness of their respective organizations. It also helped to formulate an integrate crisis management for the port of Kochi or Cochin.

Currently, hijacking of merchant vessels is one of the challenging scenarios of the Indian Navy. Piracy returned in 21st century after Somalian pirates began to hijack commercial ships and demand large ransoms. The Indian Navy began its anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden since 2008. It escorts Indian-flagged ships and also ships from other countries.

It is also important for India to strengthen its anti-piracy skills as terrorists make their way onto the Indian shores via inflatable speed boats. In 2008, 10 terrorists involved in Mumbai terror attack made their way through sea.

Exercise Hand-in-Hand-2019: India-China Joint Training

The 8th India-China joint training exercise Hand-In-Hand 2019 is being conducted at Umroi, Meghalaya from 7 to 20 December 2019. The exercise is being conducted under the theme of counter terrorism under United Nations mandate.

Exercise Hand-in-Hand-2019

Objective: To practice joint planning and conduct of counter terrorist operations in semi urban terrain.

The exercise is also focused upon training on various lectures & drills associated with special heliborne operations, counter terrorist handling & firing with each other’s weapons as well as case studies of many operations which are carried out in counter terrorist environment.

The Chinese contingent from Tibet Military command comprising of 130 personal and Indian Contingent of similar strength will be participating in 14-day long training exercise. Exercise will be held at company level with respective Battalion Headquarters controlling training.

Two tactical exercises scheduled during training are on: (1) counter terrorism scenario; (2) Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.