ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Rape of a Fortress

The now defunct Bombay Fort overlooked the harbour in the 17th and 18th centuries much like Fort St George and Fort William at Madras and Calcutta. These were the seats of power and the headquarters of the Bombay, Madras and Bengal armies. And rightly so since maritime power was paramount.

The fashionable Fort area is now the seat of the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy. It was this area which was attacked by a highly trained and motivated group of terrorists on 26 November. The western fleet, the strike force of the navy has an impressive flotilla which includes an aircraft carrier. It has under its command the submarine arm of the navy and much of its aviation resources as also the marine commandos (or MARCOS as they are now famously called). The western fleet is responsible for protection of the western seaboard from attack by sea besides protecting the exclusive economic zone and shipping lanes in our territorial waters used by merchant vessels. The Coast Guard which is the navy’s poorer cousin is responsible for “brown” or muddied waters along the entire stretch of the eastern and western seaboards. The head of the Coast Guard is a Vice-Admiral from the Indian Navy and all the resources of the Coast Guard come under the command of local naval headquarters during operations.

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