ICG hosts high level meeting of 18th HACGAM in New Delhi

FPJ BureauUpdated: Monday, October 17, 2022, 12:06 AM IST
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ICG is hosting 18th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) in coordination with HACGAM secretariat at New Delhi from 14-18 Oct 22. This event has been inaugurated by Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh in presence of Director General VS Pathania, Director General Indian Coast Guard, VC Shiraishi Masami, Vice Commandant, Japan Coast Guard and Senior officials of Ministry of Defence & Ministry of External Affairs. A total of 55 participants from 18 countries including 02 International Organisation are participating in the 18th HACGAM. During the event working level discussions and high level deliberations on issues of maritime prominence in the domain of marine environment protection, maritime search and rescue and maritime law enforcement will be held. Additionally, a joint statement encompassing the key outcomes of this congregation of Heads of Asian Coast Guard will be released which will act as roadmap for this multilateral forum to plan and conduct various collaborative initiatives till next HACGAM.

Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) is a multilateral forum of 23 countries viz. Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkiye, Vietnam and one Region i.e. Hong Kong (China). Additionally, two international organizations viz. ReCAAP ISC and UNODC-GMCP also attend the meeting. The 1st HACGAM was hosted by Japan Coast Guard in 2004 at Tokyo. This is the only forum where all the heads of Asian CG agencies congregate. The aim of this association is to enhance Maritime Safety & Security, Marine Environment Protection and Capacity Building through continuous engagement and cooperation in the Region.

The process of cooperation amongst the HACGAM Countries was initiated by Japan consequent to the capture of the pirated vessel M.V. Alondra Rainbow by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in November 1999. Subsequently, a series of Regional Senior Experts Meetings of Coast Guard Agencies of Asia were held on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships. During the 4th expert group meeting held in Pattaya, Thailand in Feb 2004, it was recommended to conduct an annual meeting of the Heads of the Coast Guard Agencies. The 8th HACGAM was hosted by ICG at New Delhi in 2012 and remains by far the biggest international event that ICG has hosted.

Cooperative Activities of HACGAM. Under the initiative of HACGAM, Coast Guards and Maritime Agencies of the region have been able to strengthen existing cooperation covering the whole range of maritime concerns except those of direct trade promotion and investments. The High Level Meeting (HLM) and Working Level Meetings (WLM) afford an opportunity to determine and address the maritime challenges in the region, share experiences and best practices and develop consensus on Capacity Building efforts.

The collaborative mechanism under this multilateral forum is coordinated through four pillars of cooperation which are terms as working group namely Search and Rescue, Environmental Protection, Preventing and Controlling unlawful acts at sea and Capacity Building.

Role of ICG in HACGAM.

​(a)      ICG played a key role in setting up of the HACGAM forum and participated in first HACGAM in June 04.

(b)      During 14th HACGAM in 2018; ICG took over as Chair of Working Group on SAR and became member of Working Group on Environment Protection.

(c)      ICG played a key role in the designing and framing of HACGAM logo and motto, which were adopted in 14th HACGAM. ICG introduced the concept of HACGAM website in 12th HACGAM and has developed the website for launch in 15th HACGAM.

(d)      HACGAM website was officially launched by ICG during 17th HACGAM in 2021.

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