New Delhi, Mar 11 : Defence Minister A K Antony will inaugurate the two-day International Maritime Search and Rescue Conference (IMSARCON 2008) here today.
India acceded to the International Maritime Organisation Convention on Search and Rescue in 2001.
The accession provided the much-needed impetus for regional and international cooperation in SAR operations.
The Indian Coast Guard is designated as the nodal agency for Maritime Search and Rescue in Indian Search and Rescue Region (ISRR) under the convention.
It has been entrusted with the onerous task of ensuring the security of the Maritime Zones of India with a view to protect maritime and other national interests in such zones.
Given India's strategic location, it is but natural that India plays a lead role in the Indian Ocean region.
Consequently, the Indian Coast Guard has been playing a vital role in ensuring "Safety of Life at Sea" not only in the vast Indian Search and Rescue Region (ISRR) that extends over four million square kilometers, but also in adjoining Search and Rescue Regions whenever requested for assistance by the neighbouring countries.
Close cooperation with our littoral neighbours is therefore essential for efficient coordination of Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR).
The Indian Coast Guard's interaction has been formally institutionalized with Japan, Maldives, and South Korea.
Further, a working relationship has been established with Bangladesh, Malaysia, Mauritius, Oman, Philippines, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam.