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Sea Defenders-2024: U.S – India Joint Exercise Bolsters Indo-Pacific Maritime Cooperation

The arrival of the US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf at Port Blair signals the commencement of ‘Sea Defenders-2024,’ a joint exercise between the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG). Scheduled for March 9-10, 2024, this drill reflects the deepening strategic ties between the two nations and aims to enhance maritime safety and uphold a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

Fusion of Expertise and Capabilities

  • Simulated Scenarios: The exercise encompasses a variety of maritime threats, including piracy, asymmetric drone attacks, search and rescue missions, firefighting drills, pollution response, drug interdiction, and medical evacuations.
  • Operational Synergy: Through diverse exercises, ‘Sea Defenders-2024’ aims to elevate readiness levels and operational synergy between the USCG and ICG, ensuring effective collaboration in confronting maritime challenges.

Evolution of Partnership

  • High-level Interactions: Regular high-level interactions and cooperative endeavors in training and operational exercises have fostered mutual understanding and strengthened the partnership between the ICG and USCG.
  • Previous Engagements: The visit of the USCG Ship Midgett to Chennai in September 2022 symbolizes the commitment to enhance maritime cooperation between India and the United States.

Indian Coast Guard: Safeguarding Maritime Interests

  • Multi-Mission Entity: The Indian Coast Guard, under the command of the Director General of the Indian Coast Guard (DGICG), operates year-round to safeguard India’s maritime interests.
  • Organizational Structure: Structured into five regional commands, each overseen by an Inspector General, the ICG demonstrates a broad spectrum of capabilities in surface and air operations.

Promoting Global Maritime Security

  • Importance of Collaboration: ‘Sea Defenders-2024’ underscores the significance of international collaboration in addressing maritime threats and promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific waters.
  • Vision for Security: By combining efforts, India and the United States contribute to a peaceful, secure, and rules-based maritime domain, emphasizing their commitment to global maritime security.

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