Chennai: The Coast Guards of India and Japan on Friday conducted a joint exercise in the Bay of Bengal to "gauge inter-operability" where a series of activities, including scenarios of hijacking and rescue were performed.
The joint exercise, named 'Sahyog-Kaijin-XV', saw ships, choppers and personnel from either sides engage in a variety of activities witnessed by the Director General of Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral H. C. S. Bisht and Vice Commandant of Japan Coast Guard Vice Admiral Hideyo Hanamizu.
Speaking to reporters, Bisht said the joint exercise, part of the ongoing cooperative arrangements between the two sides for the last 15 years, was being done to "gauge inter-operability".
The aim of the exercise was to "engage with each other in case of any contingency and fine tune our strategy so that we can keep larger maritime frontiers safe," he told reporters.
While the threat of piracy, especially from Somalian pirates, had reduced "we cannot say with certainty that threats don't exist", and therefore the need for such initiatives arose where one side can learn from the other, Bisht said, adding one has to "keep the guard up".
Hanamizu expressed satisfaction over the exercise and hailed the expanding relationship between India and Japan, especially between the Coast Guards of the two countries.
The Indian Coast Guard was represented by seven surface units and two aircraft.
The ships included Samudra Pahredar, Rajkamal and Rajtarang while one Dornier aircraft and one Chetak helicopter were also involved.
JCG Ship Echigo participated in the joint exercise and the two Coast Guards did simulated situations of hijack of a merchant vessel by 'pirates' and its subsequent rescue, cross deck landing of helicopters, search and rescue demonstration and external fire-fighting.
"The exercises focus towards acquainting the Coast Guards with each other's capabilities and strengthening their working level relationship, besides consolidating joint operating procedures," an official release said.