Heads of Asian Coast Guard agencies to meet in Delhi
The 8th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) will be held in October 2012 in New Delhi. This is the first time the HACGAM meeting is being held in the South Asian region. HACGAM is an apex forum facilitating congregation of all the major Coast Guard Agencies of Asian region. This initiative was developed initially in 2004 to discuss cooperation among the member organisations to combat piracy in the region. However, the scope of discussions has been expanded to include law enforcement, maritime security, disaster prevention and relief and capacity building. Presently, there are more than 20 member organisations from 17 countries that are part of the initiative.
The process of cooperation amongst the Asian Coast Guard Agencies was initiated by Japan consequent to the capture of the pirated vessel M.V. Alondra Rainbow by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in November 1999. Subsequently, a series of regional senior experts meetings of coast guard agencies of Asia were held on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships. Accordingly, the first HACGAM was held in Tokyo, Japan in 2004. At present, the initiative consists of 17 countries and one region. These include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Further, it was also agreed that the scope of discussions may not be restricted only to piracy issues, but may also include all Coast Guard related issues.