The Defence Minister
Shri AK Antony reiterated the importance of cooperation and
collaboration among the maritime agencies in the South Asian Region for
ensuring the security and safety of Oceans. Inaugurating the 8th Heads
of Asian Coast Guards Meeting (HACGAM) here today, he stressed the
commitment of the Government of India towards strengthening the Indian
Coast Guard in terms of building its capacity for sustained presence in
the Indian Maritime Zones.
He said that the importance of swift policy decisions by the
governments, in keeping with the maritime environment, top priority must
be accorded to the creation of safe and secure oceans. Governments and
law enforcement agencies must implement national and international laws
that can act as a deterrent for unscrupulous elements, he added. Shri
Antony assured the delegation that the Indian Government remains
committed towards the security of the Indian Ocean Region by
implementing international regulations, enacting legislations for
maritime safety and security, cooperative mechanism with nations and
capacity-building of law-enforcement agencies.
“I would like to reiterate that oceans are and can become a domain for
goodwill interactions between nations, mutual cooperation to provide
humanitarian aid, preserving maritime environment and enforcement of law
at sea. Nations must cooperate with each other to ensure everlasting
peace and security. The Coast Guards have the potential to elevate the
maritime status of a nation among littoral states, he added.
“We are also planning to augment our capacity in the fields of coastal
security, anti-piracy, anti-terrorism operations and oil spill response
capabilities. We are also willing to share our experience and expertise
in evolving a coastal security mechanism to other nations”, he said.
The Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies meeting is being held for the
first time in the South African region. The representatives of 18
countries including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Peoples Republic of
China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia,
Myanmar, Pakistan, the Phillipines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand,
Vietnam and Hongkong are participating in the conference.
HACGAM is an apex level forum facilitating congregation of all the major
Coast Guard Agencies of Asian region. This initiative was developed
initially in 2004 to discuss cooperation among the member organizations
to combat piracy in the region. However, the scope of discussions has
been expanded to include law enforcement, maritime security, disaster
prevention and relief and capacity building.
The HACGAM is conducted every year and seven such meetings have been
conducted till date. In earlier years, it has been held in places like
Tokyo, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Singapore, Manila, Bali, Shanghai and