India, Indonesia Coast Guards sign MoU to boost maritime relations

New Delhi (NVI): The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Bakamla RI (Indonesian Coast Guard) have signed an agreement on ‘Maritime Safety and Security’ to boost maritime relations amid the Covid-19 pandemic, despite limitations of travel and physical meetings.

The MoU between Vice Admiral Aan Kurnia, Head of Indonesian Coast Guard and Director General, ICG, K Natarajan through video conference.

Pradeep Kumar Rawat, Ambassador of India to Indonesia & Timor-Leste’ was also present on the occasion at Jakarta. A token ceremonial handing over of the MoU to the respective Defence Attache’ was undertaken – Captain Amitabh Saxena at Jakarta and Captain Asdi Yasin at New Delhi being the recipients, as per an official release.

India and Indonesia are historically connected through the Indian Ocean and it has been the resolve of both nations to ensure safe and secure sea passage for all seafarers in the region. This is also enshrined in PM Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR i.e. Security And Growth for All in the Region.

Relations between the two countries were elevated to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ in May 2018 during the visit of Hon’ble PM of India to Indonesia. The focus on maritime security was re-iterated with the Shared Vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The logical step of an MoU between the two Coast Guards was also conceived at this stage.

This MoU will strengthen cooperation by augmenting information exchange mechanisms. This real-time Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) will then be the foundation for controlling and responding to incidents of piracy, smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal migration and other such maritime crimes which will bring safety and security to the region and also result in protection of our precious marine environment.

The MoU will also provide avenues to improve our interoperability and carry out joint search and rescue when required. There is also an immense scope of jointly working towards capability and capacity building through closer involvement of all stakeholders.

-ARK