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India-Japan holds joint coast guard exercise to fight piracy

Kochi, Jan.14 (ANI): India and Japan carried out a joint coast guard exercise off the Kochi coast on Tuesday.

“We have just witnessed a short exercise wherein a Japanese coast guard ship, an Indian coast guard ship as well as helicopters, fixed wing aircrafts participated. This is an annual event which started since 1999,” Director General of Indian coast guard, Vice Admiral Anurag Thapliyal told media here today.

This is the 13th time both the countries are conducting deep sea exercise.

The exercise included maritime SAR, anti-piracy and various other procedures of mutual interests.

Commandant of the Japan Coast Guard Admiral Yuji Sato appreciated the move, and said that such exercises were really important for fighting problems like piracy and improving the maritime security of the nations.

“In order to deal with this problem here, it is important to increase the capacity building by enhancing the capacity of the coastal states to deal with this issue in an impressive effective way, to deal with the problem,” Admiral Sato said.

Japan Coast Guard Ship Mizuho, which reached Kochi on 12th for participating in the exercise was used as the base ship to carry out the operations, and from Indian side ICGS Samrat (a petrol vessel) took part including helicopters and Dorniers (German aircraft).

Vice Admiral Anurag G Thapliyal, Director General Indian Coast Guard and Admiral Yuji Sato, the Commandant, Japan Coast Guard (JCG) was present during the entire operations demonstration.

The visit of Japan Coast Guard is in pursuance of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC), signed between the two Coast Guards on November 24, 2006, which stipulates that the heads of the two organisations meet every year to discuss maritime issues of mutual concerns and formulate a cooperative approach to address these.

The Memorandum of Cooperation between the two Coast Guards encompasses issues of maritime search and rescue, combating marine pollution, technical assistance for responding to natural disasters and exchange of information regarding crimes at sea, including smuggling and illicit trafficking. (ANI)