Antony calls for regional contigency plans among nations

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New Delhi, Mar 11 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today called for regional contingency plans among nations for quick and effective response to search and rescue efforts.

Inaugurating the two-day International Maritime Search and Rescue Conference (IMSARCON-2008) here, Mr Antony said "We must think of ways and means to increase cooperation in maritime sphere.

Technology and resources, like fuelling and medical facilities must be shared for mutual benefit. Exchange of information is critical for efficient Search and Rescue. Nations must also consider developing and strengthening area'regional contingency plans for quick and effective response." He suggested that modem training, search and rescue exercises to develop standard operating procedures must be done on a regular basis.

While emphasising need for an extra vigil to be maintained by the Coast Guards, the Defence Minister said while the vagaries of nature affect the seafaring vessels much more than any other mode of transportation, sea-lanes were today increasingly at the risk of attacks by terrorists, pirates and agents of transnational crimes.

"I hope this identify ways and means to provide timely help to those in distress and trauma at sea.

While appreciating the Indian Coast Guards for saving thousands of lives, including a large number of foreigners, since its inception, Mr Antony, however, advised them not to rest on its laurels as they have the responsibility of guarding an area of about 4.6 million sqaure kilometres, twice the area of our country's landmass.

UNI KAS DS DB1350

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