New Delhi, Mar.11 : The Minister of state for Defence, M.M. Pallam Raju, today said that international cooperation in mid-sea rescue is inevitable to ensure that persons in distress would be assisted regardless of their location, nationality, or circumstances.
The importance of international cooperation in shipping was recognized by maritime nations owing to incidents of ships taking refuge in foreign ports in the event of bad weather and their proceeding to the aid of others in distress, irrespective of their nationality, he said.
India is a maritime nation with a vast coastline of 7,516 kilometres, which includes a search and rescue region (SRR) of about 4.6 million square kilometres which is 50 percent larger than its landmass of 2.99 million square kilometres that calls for an effective search and rescue (SAR) organisation in India.
Addressing the International Maritime Search and Rescue Conference (IMSARCON-2008), Raju said the Indian Coast Guard has been very active in developing cooperation with the SAR agencies and its interaction with Maldives, Japan and South Korea has been formally institutionalised.
A working relationship has been established with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, United States of America, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Seychelles, Mauritius, Vietnam and Singapore, he further added.
Commenting on India's role, Raju said, it is India's expressed objective to provide international SAR leadership and to foster cooperative SAR arrangements with neighbouring Coastal States in the subcontinent.
He emphasised that cooperation amongst SAR agencies at the global and regional level is inescapable.