SINGAPORE, Feb 5: Presence of Indian Coast Guard at Changi Naval base in Singapore symbolises a relationship of “great” trust and shared future, Indian envoy here said as an Indian Coast Guard Ship completed its two-month tour of Asia, and sailed home after completing a bilateral exercise.
Led by Deputy Inspector General A P Badola, the ship has visited Malaysia, the Philippines and Japan prior to Singapore.
DIG Badola hosted a reception for the Singapore coast guard, navy and members of the Indian diaspora.
India’s High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf said the ICGS Samarth’s and its crew’s visit highlighted the ongoing defence cooperation between India and Singapore.
“Presence of Indian Coast Guard at Changi Naval base symbolises a relationship of a great trust, mutual confidence, shared purpose and shared future between our two countries,” he told some 200 guests onboard ICGS Samarth.
“Today they are here on a very important visit to build a bridge of friendship and goodwill with one of our foremost partners in the world, which is Singapore,” he said.
Ashraf emphasised the growing importance of joint exercises between India and Singapore as well as the region in keeping the sea lanes safe.
The High Commissioner praised Singapore’s Navy and Coast Guard for its professionalism in maintaining marine safety and security in one of the most vital and sensitive sea lanes in the world and one of its most important ports.
He lauded Indian Coast Guard’s outstanding professionalism and commitment in fulfilling its huge mandate of protecting 7,500 km of coastline, over 1,350 islands, 2 million sq km of EEZ, marine ecology and resources and handling search and rescue responsibilities of 4 million sq km.
Ashraf said that international engagement for Coast Guard was not only important for building mutual capabilities, but also for improving international coordination and cooperation in law enforcement and disaster response on seas or coastal areas.
In addition to piracy, trafficking and smuggling, sea-borne terrorism, which India had witnessed in November 2008, has become a potential threat for Southeast Asia, too, he said.
Highlighting marine ecology, he said, “the blue economy of the future will depend on how much we maintain our marine resources”.
Jawed Ashraf also highlighted the important of Asian sea lanes as the region prospers.
“In the cyber age, too, peaceful, stable, secure, safe and clean seas and oceans remain critical for peace and prosperity in the world,” he said, and noted that nowhere was it as important as it was in the Indo Pacific region, which required all countries in the region to work cooperatively in accordance with rules of the road and international law. (PTI)