Coast Guard Current Affairs - 2019
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Indian Navy undertook a first of its kind multi-agency drill, covering the entire 7,516 km-long Indian coastline and exclusive economic zone and involving 13 coastal states and Union Territories to check the efficacy of maritime security and surveillance- Sea Vigil.
Why Sea Vigil exercise is an Unprecedented One?
The two-day exercise, Sea Vigil has a deployment of 150 ships, 40 aircraft and a number of other strategic assets of the Navy and Coast Guard. Navy had undertaken biannual coastal security exercises at the level of states previously but it is for the first time an exercise involving all coastal states, island territories and all central and state agencies has been undertaken. This large geographical extent, a number of stakeholders involved, number of units participating and the objectives to be met make the exercise an unprecedented one.
Objectives of the Sea Vigil exercise
The objectives of the Sea Vigil exercise:
- Simultaneously activate the coastal security mechanism across all states and Union Territories.
- Evaluate critical areas and processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance.
- Comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since ’26/11′ Mumbai attacks.
The 26/11 Mumbai attacks brought out serious gaps in India. Post 26/11, Navy has taken many steps in filling these critical security gaps.
The Sea Vigil exercise was facilitated by the ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, Shipping, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Fisheries, Customs and state governments.
The Union Cabinet has approved signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for cooperation on response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in South Asian Seas Region.
The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and other maritime nations comprising South Asian seas region namely Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for protection and preservation of marine environment in the region.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under Defence Ministry will be Competent National Authority and national operational contact point for implementation of Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan under MoU. It will respond to oil and chemical spills on behalf of Government of India. Further, ICG Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) will be national emergency response centre for marine incidents.
Governments of India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had established SACEP in 1982 in Sri Lanka. Its purpose was to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of environment in the South Asian region.
The SACEP jointly with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had developed Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan to facilitate international co-operation and mutual assistance in preparing and responding to major oil pollution incident in seas around SACEP’s maritime states of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)
SASEC program is project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation. It was established in 2001. Its seven members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka. ADB is secretariat and lead financier of SASEC program. So far, it has supported 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).