The Indian Navy that had embarked on Coastal Security Exercise Matla Abhiyaan on 29 Jan 2020 led by Capt J Chakraborty, successfully completed the exercise with the naval boats returning to Man of War jetty, Kolkata at 1600h on 02 Feb 20.
During the exercise, the boats undertook patrol in the Sunderban delta and along the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route. The boats interrogated fishing boats, tankers and launches operating in the Matla river, Hooghly River and in narrow creeks of Sunderbans. During the patrol, the boats stopped first at Namkhana where the sailors interacted with local fishermen to spread awareness about their role towards coastal security. Thereafter, the crew interacted with marine police stations at Maipith, Gobardhanpur, and Gosaba en route to Hemnagar.
The vessels berthed at Hemnagar jetty on 31 Jan 20 and interacted with IWAI and Customs officials. The naval personnel along with team leader Captain Joydeep Chakraborty also visited a local school and interacted with the students & teachers. They distributed pamphlets about the Indian Navy, how to join the Navy to children and the local youth.
The vessels departed Hemnagar on 01 Feb and met with the BSF boat at the zero point along the Indo-Bangladesh border. The boats were escorted through the waters of Sunderban by IWAI vessel Meghna which indicated strong interagency coordination among various stakeholders. The vessel Meghna also provided logistical support to naval boats.
The successful completion of the exercise indicated the willingness of stakeholders of coastal security to operate in a combined manner and the positive inter-agency coordination. Hitherto naval vessels operated only in open seas guarding the coast against the sea. This was the first time the naval vessels ventured into inland waters for a coastal security exercise.