India sends Samudra Prahari to ASEAN mission against marine pollution

NEW DELHI | Updated: 18 September, 2023 11:50 am IST
The Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Prahari

NEW DELHI: The Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Prahari, a highly specialized Pollution Control Vessel, set sail on an overseas deployment to ASEAN countries from September 11 to October 14, 2023, on a critical mission to combat marine pollution in the region.

The deployment is part of India’s broader ASEAN initiatives for Marine Pollution Response and showcases the ICG’s Pollution Response capabilities. Equipped with a Chetak Helicopter in Pollution Response configuration, the Samudra Prahari is a formidable force in addressing environmental crises at sea.

“This initiative showcases India’s dedication to safeguarding our oceans and combating marine pollution in close collaboration with our ASEAN partners,” said Defence minister Rajnath Singh during the ASEAN Defence Minister Meeting Plus in Cambodia in November 2022.

During the deployment, the ship is scheduled to make significant port calls in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and Jakarta. “These visits provide an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate the ICG’s pollution response capabilities and its commitment to working collaboratively with ASEAN nations to tackle marine pollution,” said Captain Ramesh Kumar, the commanding officer of ICGS Samudra Prahari.

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In a move to foster international cooperation, the Samudra Prahari has also welcomed aboard 13 NCC cadets. They will actively participate in the “Puneet Sagar Abhiyan,” an international outreach program focused on beach clean-ups and similar activities in coordination with partner nations. This initiative highlights India’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards.

“This visit holds immense strategic importance in strengthening bilateral relationships with key maritime agencies,” emphasized Rear Admiral Neha Sharma, spokesperson for the Indian Coast Guard. “Engagements with senior officials and personnel from these agencies during the visit will further enhance regional safety and security.”

The comprehensive agenda of the visit includes professional exchanges, cross-deck visits, planning and tabletop exercises, joint exercises, and official and social engagements. It also includes visits to capacity-building facilities, showcasing India’s commitment to enhancing regional maritime security.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region” is at the heart of this deployment. “Our mission aligns perfectly with the Prime Minister’s vision, seeking to unite the region through enhanced maritime cooperation,” stated Admiral K. R. Nautiyal, Director General of the Indian Coast Guard.

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