Indian, Bangladeshi navies launch joint anti-crime maritime patrol

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DHAKA, June 27 (PTI): The navies of India and Bangladesh on Wednesday launched the first joint coordinated patrol (CORPAT) along their maritime boundaries against terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, smuggling and illegal fishing, the Bangladesh Navy said.

Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and his Bangladeshi counterpart Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed launched the six-day-long joint exercise at a function at a naval base in the southeastern port city of Chittagong.

“The navy ships and aircraft of the two countries would begin the patrol tomorrow from the territorial waters of Bangladesh and conclude at Vishakhapatnam in India on July 3,” a Bangladesh Navy spokesman said.

He said two Bangladeshi and two Indian war ships and two maritime patrol aircraft of both the countries would initially join the joint exercise against terrorism piracy, human trafficking, smuggling and illegal fishing.

Two officers of the Bangladesh Navy and two of the Indian Navy would travel in each other’s warships during the exercise.

“This is the first such joint patrol by the two navies. The two navies have decided to carry-out identical anti-crime exercises from time-to-time, whenever they feel necessary,” the spokesman said.

He said the two navies would also exchange information related to criminal activities in each other’s territories and identify vessels engaged in illegal activities as part of joint steps to decriminalise their territorial waters.

A defence ministry statement said that during the opening of the exercise, Admiral Lanba said currently the two neighbours were passing through a period of excellent relations when “this exercise is expected to play an important role in securing their huge maritime boundaries and exploring economic potentials”.

“India is always willing to work with Bangladesh in securing maritime boundaries, combating terrorism, facing any disaster and development of blue economy,” the Indian Navy chief was quoted as saying in the statement.

Admiral Ahmed said that securing a huge maritime boundary was a challenge for which exchange of information and joint vigil were crucial. He also thanked the Indian Navy for joint the initiative.

The Indian Navy chief arrived here on Sunday on a six-day visit. During his stay, Admiral Lanba called on President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with his other engagements with Bangladesh armed forces officials and meeting with his counterpart.

During the meeting with Lanba on June 25, the Bangladesh premier had stressed sharing of experience between the two navies, saying “on our part, we can share the expertise of the Indian Navy in ensuring our maritime and coastal security”.

Hasina said the two countries have kept marks of excellent relations particularly referring to the Land Boundary Agreement and added “we can do many things if the relation is good”.

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