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Navy set to sign logistics & coastal surveillance pacts with 10 Indian Ocean countries

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The Indian Navy’s drive follows similar arrangements that India signed with Japan during Modi’s visit, which have been quietly activated.

New Delhi: The Indian Navy is set to sign logistics support and coastal surveillance arrangements with about 10 countries in the Indian Ocean Region.

Among possible maritime security arrangements that the Navy is negotiating are coastal surveillance radars (CSR), which could be established in Thailand and Myanmar. This would be in addition to CSRs that India has set up in the Maldives, and logistics support agreements with France, Singapore and Australia.

The Navy’s drive follows similar arrangements that India signed with Japan, which have been quietly activated. It also comes ahead of the latest edition of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), scheduled to be held in Kochi next week.

The IONS was an India-led effort that was formed in 2008. But it went through turbulence after regime changes in littoral countries such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka. It now believes that it can go ahead with the arrangements. The Navy is expecting participation from nearly 30 countries at the latest edition of the IONS in Kochi on November 13 and 14.

Also read: Our harbours may be vulnerable for 20 years, and Indian Navy can’t do much

Arrangements with Japan

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan last week, New Delhi and Tokyo signed an “Implementation arrangement for deeper cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF)”.

The two sides also agreed to begin talks for an Acquisitions and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). Neither was much-publicised.

The ACSA was originally a NATO construct for its member countries. It is also the precursor to the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that India and the US signed after more than decade-long talks in August 2016.

Last month, the JMSDF helicopter carrier Kaga held an anti-submarine warfare exercise off Visakhapatnam. The Indian Army and the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force also held a counter-terrorism drill that concluded earlier this month.

The arrangements with Japan, combined with co-development projects in India’s Northeast and in ASEAN member countries, are likely to expand the Navy’s reach.

Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe during their talks pledged to make “joint efforts towards shared security” in the Indo-Pacific region.

The two sides noted that the talks on ACSA and the implementation arrangements will “establish the means and framework for information sharing and conduct of joint exercises and other maritime engagements for the enhancement of Maritime Security and MDA (maritime domain awareness), including the exchange of shipping information.”

Also read: Modi govt okays buying 111 helicopters for desperate Indian Navy

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