New Delhi: Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) will discuss a range of issues ranging from maritime prominence in the domain of marine environment protection, maritime search and rescue and maritime law enforcement during their 18th HACGAM meeting in New Delhi, commenced on October 14.
The meeting which is being chaired by the Indian Coast Guard, would conclude on October 18. The event was inaugurated by Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh on October 15 in the national capital.
In this meeting, a total of 55 delegates from 18 countries including two International Organisation are participating.
What is HACGAM?
It is a multilateral forum of 23 countries, including Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and one Region i.e. Hong Kong (China).
Besides, two international organizations --- ReCAAP ISC and UNODC-GMCP are also attend the meeting.
In 2004, the first HACGAM was hosted by Japan Coast Guard at Tokyo.
It must be mentioned that this is the only forum where all the heads of Asian Coast Guard agencies congregate.
What is the aim of HACGAM?
The aim of this association is to enhance Maritime Safety & Security, Marine Environment Protection and Capacity Building through continuous engagement and cooperation in the Region.
How the idea of HACGAM was conceived?
The process of cooperation amongst the HACGAM Countries was initiated by Japan consequent to the capture of the pirated vessel M.V. Alondra Rainbow by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) 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.
During the 4th expert group meeting held in Pattaya, Thailand in February 2004, it was recommended to conduct an annual meeting of the Heads of the Coast Guard Agencies.
The 8th HACGAM was hosted by ICG at New Delhi in 2012 and remains by far the biggest international event that ICG has hosted.
What are the advantages of HACGAM?
The Coast Guards and Maritime Agencies of the region have been able to strengthen existing cooperation covering the whole range of maritime concerns except those of direct trade promotion and investments.
The High Level Meeting (HLM) and Working Level Meetings (WLM) afford an opportunity to determine and address the maritime challenges in the region, share experiences and best practices and develop consensus on Capacity Building efforts.
What is the Role of the Indian Coast Guard HACGAM?
(a) ICG played a key role in setting up of the HACGAM forum and participated in first HACGAM in June 2004.
(b) During 14th HACGAM in 2018; Group on Environment Protection.
(c) ICG played a key role in the designing and framing of HACGAM logo and motto, which were adopted in 14th HACGAM. ICG introduced the concept of HACGAM website in 12th HACGAM and has developed the website for launch in 15th HACGAM.
(d) HACGAM website was officially launched by ICG during 17th HACGAM in 2021.