Interacting with mediapersons on the sidelines of the fifth edition of Indo-Korean joint maritime exercise ‘Sahyog-Hyeoblyeog-2016,’ Singh said: “We have MoUs with six countries, namely Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Oman and two are in the pipeline with Sri Lanka and Myanmar.”
Replying to another query on the issue of fishermen being arrested on charges of crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line, he said the Coast Guard was constantly interacting with fishermen to educate them through its community interaction programme.
The Coast Guard has conducted 236 programmes this year alone and its teams are reaching out to villages and educating fishermen to not cross the IMBL — be it between India and Pakistan or Sri Lanka or Myanmar or Bangladesh, Mr. Singh said.
The Coast Guard has about 122 ships in service presently and 66 more were in the pipeline as they were being built in various shipyards across the country. Orders would be placed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 16 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Mk III and agreements were in the final stage to acquire 14 heavy helicopters, which have an endurance of about six to seven hours and are expected by 2017-18.
Lands have been acquired in Puducherry and Mangaluru in Karnataka for setting up hover ports there, he said. Claiming that the Coast Guard was the only force to have 10 per cent women in service, Mr. Singh said new ships would have separate cabins for women.
“During this year’s exercise, we agreed to have points of contact in India and South Korea to share real-time information and anything related to pollution, search and control, piracy and day-to-day information,” Singh said in the presence of Commissioner General of Korea Coast Guard Hong Ik-Tae.
ICGS Samudra Paheredar , ICGS Sagar , ICGS Rajtarang and ICGS Anagh , besides a fixed-wing Dornier aircraft and a Chetak helicopter, represented the Indian Coast Guard in the exercise. Korea Coast Guard ship 3009 participated in the exercise in the Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast on Friday.
A mock drill to arrest a ‘pirate’ ship, search and rescue operations, fire fighting and fly past by aircraft were part of the exercise. (Colombo Gazette)