Sri Lanka takes part in joint Coastguard Exercise with India and Maldives
Personnel of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard took part in a tri-partite exercise with counterparts from India and Maldives in an exercise named Dosti XII – from 29th to 31st October, 2014 off the coast of Malé. Sri Lanka Navy’s Ship (SLNS) Samudura with 180 naval and coastguard personnel took part in the joint exercise. Two Indian Coast Guard ships (ICGS) Samar and ICGS Rajdoot and two Maldivian Ships (MCGS) Huravee and Shaheed Ali took part in the exercise.
Meanwhile the head of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral S.S Ranasinghe called on Maldivian Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and Chief of Defence Force, Major General Mohamed Ibrahim during the exercise and discussed avenues of mutual cooperation to enhance capacities of the two countries.The Coast Guard Department of Sri Lanka, currently headed by Rear Admiral Ranasinghe was established by an Act of Parliament in 2009. The Maldivian Defence officials were keen to obtain training for their personnel in life saving. It was noted that this year alone the Sri Lankan Coast Guard has saved more than 320 lives of which over eighty had been foreign tourists.
The Joint Exercise was initially a bilateral event between India and Maldives held since 1991. Sri Lanka joined the 11 edition of exercise in 2012 with another Sri Lanka Navy Ship (SLNS) Sagara representing the country in that year. The aim of India-Maldives-Sri Lanka Tri-Lateral Exercise is to further fortify the friendship, enhance mutual operational capability, and exercise interoperability and to build cooperation between the Coast Guards of the three countries. The focus areas during Dosti-XII was to enhance capacities in Maritime Search and Rescue (M-SAR), Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Marine Pollution Response (POLRES) and Anti-piracy operations. The exercise was also viewed by representatives from maritime forces of Seychelles and Mauritius.
The mutually beneficial exercise highlighted the importance of launching coordinated efforts to ensure the safety and security of sea-farers. Participants were able to gain valuable insights into achieving inter-operability which is vital for tackling piracy and related maritime security concerns in the geo-strategically important Indian Ocean.
The Sri Lanka Coast Guard was represented by SLNS Samudura under the command of Captain YMB Jayathilake of the Sri Lanka Navy.