Maritime Exercises Current Affairs - 2020

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Sahyog-Kaijin-India-Japan joint exercise for Coast Guards

On January 16, 2020, India and Japan took part in a joint exercise called “Sahyog-Kaijin”. The exercise was held between the coastal guards of the countries at Chennai Port.

Highlights

The Japanese ship Ehigo and 4 ships of Indian Coast Guard participated in the exercise. The coast guards conducted the scenario of capture of a hijacked ship and rescue of crew in a joint operation. They also demonstrated search and rescue operations and displayed their fire-fighting skills.

The exercise was conducted based on the agreement signed by the Coast Guards of the countries in 2006.

Significance

The exercise is important for the countries to handle piracy in the Indian Ocean region. Also, both the countries being part of the Quad grouping, it is important for them to refresh their skills, learning from each other and stay connected to ease operations at sea.

Other exercises

Apart from Coastal Guard Exercises, Indian and Japan hold other military exercises as well. The “Shinyuu Maitri”is the joint Air Force Exercise that was held in October 2019 for the first time.

The India-Japan Maritime Exercise called JIMEX was conducted in 2013 for the first time. It focuses on maritime security cooperation.

Dharma Guardian is the military exercise that is conducted between the armies of the countries.

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Apharan: Indian Navy’s largest anti-hijacking exercise

On Decebmer 18, 2019, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard at Cochin port conducted large scale anti-hijacking exercise. The exercise was called Apharan.

Highlights

Multiple agencies participated in the exercise. It included 12 ships and helicopters of Cochin Port trust, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. This is the first time an anti-hijacking exercise is being conducted at a large scale in India and in the port of Cochin.

During the exercise, insertion of Marine Commandos (MarCos) into the hijacked vessel through boarding operations and slithering into the deck from a Sea King helicopter were demonstrated.

Significance

The exercise acted as a platform for the stakeholders to identify gaps and self-assess the preparedness of their respective organizations. It also helped to formulate an integrate crisis management for the port of Kochi or Cochin.

Currently, hijacking of merchant vessels is one of the challenging scenarios of the Indian Navy. Piracy returned in 21st century after Somalian pirates began to hijack commercial ships and demand large ransoms. The Indian Navy began its anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden since 2008. It escorts Indian-flagged ships and also ships from other countries.

It is also important for India to strengthen its anti-piracy skills as terrorists make their way onto the Indian shores via inflatable speed boats. In 2008, 10 terrorists involved in Mumbai terror attack made their way through sea.

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