Somewhere in Bay of Bengal, off Chennai. 15 January, 2016. A joint exercise named Sahyog-Kaijin-XV was conducted between Indian and Japanese coast guards.
The Indian coast guard fleet consisting of six surface units and two air craft coast guard ships. Samudra Paheredar, Vishwast, Rajkamal, Rajtarang, C-417, C-415 one Dornier and one Chetak helicopter along with Japan’s coast guard ship Echigo with integrated Sikorsky helicopter participated in the exercise.
The exercise was witnessed by Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, AVSM the Director General, Indian Coast Guard and Vice Admiral Hideyo Hanamizu, Vice Commandant, Japan Coast Guard who has specially flown in for a high level meeting with the coast guard. The exercise was co-ordinated and conducted under the overall supervision of Inspector General SP Sharma, PTM, TM, the commander coast guard region (east). The exercise was also witnessed by a high level Japanese delegation and senior officials of Japan Coast Guard.
The exercise encompassed the scenario of the hijacking of a merchant vessel and its subsequent rescue in joint coast guard operation of both the countries. Operation of Indian Coast Guard helicopters from Japan Coast Guard ship and vice versa, cross deck landing, interdiction of pirate vessel, cross boarding, SAR demonstration and external fire fighting were the other highlights of the exercise. In addition the coast guard ships and aircraft demonstrated their prowess before the Japanese delegation. The exercise culminated with an impressive steam past by the ships and fly past by the aircraft wherein the crew of the participating units saluted the DGICG and Vice Commandant JCG.
During joint interaction with the media onboard ICGS Samudra Paharedar the Director General ICG and Vice Commandant JCG expressed their satisfaction towards the conduct of the exercise with an objective of acquainting with each other’s capabilities and strengthening their working level relationship including interoperability and further refining joint operating procedures. The director general also brought out the significant contribution of the fishing community towards security as eyes and ears of the coast guard.
The association of Indian and Japan coast guard dates back to the year 1999 where for the first time in maritime history a pirated ship was apprehended. The Japan flagged ship MV Alondra Rainbow hijacked by pirates and repainted as MV Mega Rama was apprehended at high seas by the Indian coast guard in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai.