CHENNAI: Sixteen years ago, Japan found a friend in Indian Coast Guard when its vessel MV Alondara Rainbow was rescued from pirates in the Arabian Sea after hot pursuit.
That bond is being strengthened with a joint exercise — Sahyog-Kaijin-XV — between Indian and Japanese coast guards in the Bay of Bengal on January 15. The Japanese Coast Guard ship Echigo will be in the city till January 16 as part of a goodwill gesture.
The aim is to deepen the working level relationship between the two coast guards and refine joint operating procedures.
After the successful rescue of MV Alondara, the association between the two coast guards grew rapidly. In 2000, the bilateral visits of coast guard ships of both countries were institutionalised.
The highlight of the joint exercise by both the coast guards cover hijacking of a merchant vessel and its subsequent rescue through a joint coast guard operation.
Indian Coast Guard helicopters will operate from Japan Coast Guard ship and vice-versa, cross deck landing, interdiction of pirate vessel, cross boarding, stream past and external fire-fighting are other highlights of the exercise.
The exercise would be witnessed by vice-admiral HCS Bisht, director general of Indian Coast Guard and vice-admiral Hideyo Hanamizu, vice-commandant, Japan Coast Guard and the Inspector General of Coast Guard, Commander SP Sharma.