Ships and aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard and the Japan Coast Guard came together to train for the 15th edition of ‘Sahyog-Kaijin’ joint exercise in the Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast on Friday.
This is the second time in three months a ship from the Japanese military forces is participating in a military exercise along with India. In October last year, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force’s ship FS Fuyuzuk participated in exercise ‘Malabar’ with ships and aircraft of the Indian and the United States navies.
While India was represented by ICGS Samudra Paheredar, ICGS Sarang, ICGS Vishwast, ICGS Rajtarang, ICGS Rajkamal and a Dornier Do 226 and chetak helicopters in ‘Sahyog-Kaijin XV’, Japan Coast Guard’s JCGS Echigo with its integral helicopter took part in the exercise.
Addressing the media along with Vice Admiral Hideyo Hanamizu, the Vice Commandant of the Japan Coast Guard, Director General of Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral H.C.S. Bisht said the exercise was aimed at fine-tuning the coordination between the forces.
Vice Admiral Hanamizu said he was “extremely satisfied” with the coordination of the forces and hoped that the exercise in the future would not only be wider but also deeper. He also also expressed his condolences to the damages caused to human lives and property during the floods that ravaged Chennai last month.
Replying to a query, Vice Admiral Bisht said though the Somali pirates’ menace was “nearly extinct” the force continued to keep its guard up and was prepared to face any threat.
Both the heads of Indian and Japan Coast Guard refrained from giving a direct answer to a query on their opinion on the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, contending as Coast Guard, their mandate was to protect the territorial waters of the respective countries.
When queried on the Indian Coast Guard's role in saving the whales which were beached off Tuticorin coast, Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma, Regional Commander (East) said the Coast Guard was able to push back 34 whales and the reason behind the disorientation of the whales was being looked into by the authorities concerned.