This article is to recall the terrorist attack on Mumbai 10 years ago. The western seaboard of India from Kandla to Cochin is very vulnerable to terrorist attacks from sea and air. Goa located close to oil supertanker routes is sitting ducks for high technology-based terrorist attacks – the most dangerous is possibility of mid sea oil/environmental terrorism. Let us look at certain future scenarios.
A trained ISIS group joins expert Somalian pirates to hijack an oil supertanker from Hormuz carrying two million barrels of crude oil to Singapore. The ship is taken over by the terrorists and steered close to coast of Goa. The terrorists attach timed and directed explosives to blow the ship in such a way that most of the oil produces a giant slick covering a large area of ocean within a few hours. They ensure that they get direction of landward wind right so the slick moves rapidly due to wave action towards beaches of Goa and Konkan.
As time passes there is panicky situation because country is ill equipped to handle slick caused by two million barrels of oil so close to the coast. Government does its best to confine and control it, but the rough turbulent atmospheric conditions make the situation worse. Within two days all the beaches of Goa get covered in black sludge, “chocolate mousse” making the tourism industry shut down for years. On third day the oil slick impacts interior of all the estuaries. Mangroves die within two days. On fourth day the pollution travels upwards in freshwater region of Terekhol, Chapora, Mandovi and Zuari affecting irrigation and water supply projects. On seventh day the public drinking water begins to smell like kerosene and thousands of people fall sick. Government orders drinking water wagons by special water trains as a serious drinking water supply crisis arises. Mass fish mortalities are reported from everywhere.
Reports trickle in about traces of petroleum hydrocarbons in ground water. Soon all the wells in coastal area get polluted. There is complete panic in the state. The blame game begins as usual, but it is soon realised that such a scenario was never envisaged in first place. Just like attacks on Mumbai on 26 November 2008. Terror from sea in future would be planned in this manner to cause heavy impact on ecology and economy and bring our country to its knees. Such actions are impossible to prevent in time and space unless every inch of western seaboard and the coastal fishing zone is fully secured. Consider this scene – a terrorist group gets a high-speed boat and launches a modified remote-controlled radar evading stealth drone, camouflaged like a large harmless bird hovering in airspace over Goa. It escapes detection by coastal radars and stops over Grande Island off Mormugao coast. Then a volley of laser guided missiles are fired accurately at the oil storage tanks in Mormugao harbor leading to explosions and fire.
And if one radar evading stealth drone is successful, we can’t stop others to attack the targets vulnerable from air such as MPT cargo handling area, Goa Shipyard, Dabolim airstrip, Naval base and Raj Bhavan. Private drone videos of various locations and landscapes of Goa uploaded on You Tube show how simple it is for anyone to do a reconnaissance of the soft targets before planning a drone missile attack. Many of these videos covering sensitive local installations need to be removed from You Tube in national interest. There are hundreds of lesser known creeks and backwaters to shelter terrorists who could use new portable technology to launch attack and escape. Mumbai won’t be the target in future as terrorists would identify many other insecure locations on western seaboard of India. The threat perception is very weak because we are made to believe that the three-tier security – Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Marine Police are taking care of any terrorist attack.
But police have no answer about checks on suspicious vessels entering from mouths of estuaries of Goa, especially Terekhol, Chapora, Sal, Galjibaga and Talpona which are notorious for smuggling of liquor. Threat perception scenarios and even worst-case scenarios have not taken into account the rapid explosion of new technologies like the radar evading stealth drones and lightweight laser guided, heat seeking grenades and missiles, chemical and biological agents. Dams, reservoirs and water supply projects in Goa are totally vulnerable to chemical poisoning attacks. Access control on dams and all water supply projects is non-existent and unsecured.
The entire population is vulnerable to chemical attack from drinking water supply. Already high concentration of Manganese in water supply from Selaulim has evaded solution making the water consumers susceptible over a period to “Parkinson syndrome”. Goa has absolutely no defense against bioterrorism because there are no quarantines on any border check posts. Foreigners are suspected to have released tick infected pet monkeys in forests of Sattari. These ticks carry KFDV. Otherwise sudden appearance of Kyasnur Forest Disease Virus -KFDV bypassing thick patches of forests in Karnataka, directly in Sattari cannot be explained. There has to be strict control over movements of foreigners in Eco vulnerable Western Ghats region because clandestine release of smuggled agents of biological warfare can’t be ruled out. Local people are too naïve to suspect the new forms of terrorism.