India and Indonesia – maritime neighbours – have signed a MoU on ‘Maritime Safety and Security’ as part of their Indo-Pacific visions to establish rules-based order amid China’s growing belligerence in the region.

As maritime neighbours, believes in Rules-Based Order and upholding the tenets of the 1982 UNCLOS, this MoU will strengthen cooperation by augmenting information exchange mechanisms. This real time Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) will then be the foundation for controlling and responding to incidents of piracy, smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal migration and other such maritime crimes which will bring safety and security to the region and also result in protection of precious marine environment, ET has reliably learnt.

The MoU will also provide avenues to improve inter-operability and carry out joint search and rescue when required. There is also immense scope of jointly working towards capability and capacity building through closer involvement of all stakeholders, ET has further learnt.

Bakamla RI (Indonesian Coast Guard) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) reached a level of cooperation and working mechanism that resulted in signing of a significant MoU on ‘Maritime Safety and Security’ through telepresence on July 6.

Vice Admiral Aan Kurnia, Head of Bakamla RI and his counterpart Dir General K Natarajan, DG ICG signed the MoU through web connectivity between their respective Headquarters at Jakarta and Delhi. Pradeep Kumar Rawat, Ambassador of India to Indonesia & Timor-Leste’ was present on the occasion at Jakarta.

A token ceremonial handing over of the MoU to the respective Defence Attache’ was undertaken – Captain Amitabh Saxena at Jakarta and Captain Asdi Yasin at New Delhi being the recipients.

India and Indonesia are historically connected through the Indian Ocean and it has been the resolve of both nations to ensure safe and secure sea passage for all seafarers in the region. This is enshrined in PM Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR i.e. Security And Growth for All in the Region.

Relations between the two countries were elevated to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ in May 2018 during Modi’s visit to Indonesia. The focus on maritime security was re-iterated with the Shared Vision of India-Indonesia Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Amid recent tensions in the South China Sea, the Indonesian government has reiterated its position on the rule of international law through diplomatic notes addressed to the United Nations, while declining China’s offer to hold bilateral talks on overlapping claims.

In a diplomatic note dated May 26, Indonesia reiterated that it is not a party to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. It added that the nine-dash line map which China uses as a basis for its claims in the waters lacks an international legal basis.

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