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India, China, Japan coordinating in anti-piracy operations

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Feb 2, IRNA -- India, China and Japan have started implementing a new mechanism to coordinate the movement of their warships in the Gulf of Aden to provide protection to cargo vessels from sea brigands.

The three countries operate independently in the Gulf of Aden to provide protection to cargo ships from pirates and are not part of the two groupings deployed there--the European EUNAVFOR and the US-led Task Force 151. The new mechanism has come into force since January one.

'Earlier what was happening was that the convoys of all these three countries would be spaced by few hours and there would be long hours in a day when no convoy was available for escorting the vessels,' Navy's Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Foreign Cooperation and Naval Intelligence) Rear Admiral Monty Khanna told reporters here.

The officer was holding a briefing on the 'Milan' naval exercise, which started in Port Blair today, pti r eported. He said now the three countries have 'evolved a mechanism under which it will be ensured that there is enough gap between the Indian, Chinese and the Japanese convoy and they are well-displaced' to be able to escort a greater number of ships in a day.

Khanna was replying to a query on the lack of coordination and cooperation between the Chinese and Indian navies.

The coordination exercise among the three navies is being held under the 'Shared Awareness And Deconfliction (SHADE)' grouping established in December 2008 for sharing 'best practices', and activities of nations involved in counter-piracy operations in the region, officials said.

India deploys at least one warship at any point in time in the Gulf of Aden whereas the Chinese Navy has three warships including a tanker vessel for sustaining its operations there.

Officials said the coordination among the three navies is being done through e-mails on a platform which is also shared by the other navies in the SHADE initiative.

SHADE participants exchange piracy-related information for better coordination among the forces deployed on a web-based portal with security overlays established this purpose.

Asked if the 14-nation Milan exercise was an attempt to form a grouping against China, Khanna said it was not meant for such a purpose.

'I think that is not the case. It is just a meeting of minds as the name of the exercise suggests,' he said.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30793500

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