THE INDIAN Coast Guard is gearing up to host its Pakistani counterpart — the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) — next month. A meeting between the two maritime security agencies is scheduled to take place from April 16 to 19 in New Delhi.
Last year, an ICG delegation headed by Director General Rajendra Singh had visited Pakistan to discuss maritime issues between the two countries. The PMSA team that will visit India will be headed by the DG, PMSA.
Sources claim that the ICG was exploring possibilities to conduct a joint exercise between the two nations on the sea. “While we have met our counterparts in the past, there has been no joint exercise wherein our ships visit their coast or their vessels anchor on our ports and we carry out joint operations. Attempts are being made to carry out such operations,” a senior official told The Indian Express. “However, those would require a final confirmation from the head of the states,” he added.
In 2005, a MoU was signed between the maritime agencies that envisaged cooperation through exchange of information on marine pollution, natural disaster and calamities and Exclusive Economic Zone violation. The MoU also sought to combat smuggling, illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and piracy, and coordination in search and rescue and return sea passage.
The PMSA had earlier this month apprehended 115 fishermen and seized 19 boats. The Indian Coast Guard had captured nine Pakistani nationals.