Coast Guard to sign MoU to conduct joint exercises with Lanka, Myanmar

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CHENNAI: Indian Coast Guard will be signing a memorandum of understanding to conduct joint exercises with Sri Lankan and Myanmar Coast Guards, according to Director-General of Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh.

Addressing reporters on board Indian Coast Guard Ship Samudra Pahredar after overseeing the joint exercise by Indian and South Korean Coast Guards, Singh said that Coast Guard had already signed MoUs with six countries and was planning to have MoUs with Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

To a query on the issue of arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Singh said that Coast Guard had been advising fishermen not to cross borders to fish. He said that Coast Guard had held 236 community interactions with fishermen in this regard.

Coast Guard  is also planning to boost its air surveillance and will be inducting 14 Eurocopters by next financial year. “Chetak helicopters do not have the ability to go deep over the sea and last only for one or two hours. The twin-engine Eurocopters can make longer trips and can last in air up to six to seven hours,” said Singh. He said orders were also being placed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for 16 advanced light helicopters.

Coast Guard  has 122 ships in its service and plans are on to have 66 more. “The 66 ships are being built in various shipyards,” said Singh.  The new ships are likely to have cabins for women. This could also mean that women would be patrolling with the men in deep seas. Coast Guard is the only force which has an intake of 10 per cent women officers.

Meanwhile, plans are on to set up hover ports in Puducherry, and Mangaluru and land has been acquired in this regard. Earlier, Indian Coast Guard fleet along with South Korean Coast Guard ship conducted a joint exercise ‘Sahyog-Hyeoblyeog-2016’. The Coast Guard  fleet consisted of five surface units and two aircraft. Coast Guard ships Sagar, Samudra Pahredar, Rajtarang, Anagh, one Dornier and one Chetak helicopter along with Korea Coast Guard ship 3009 participated in the exercise