New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved signing of an MoU intending to promote closer cooperation between India and other maritime nations of the South Asian region – Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – for protection and preservation of marine environment.
“The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for cooperation on the response to oil and chemical pollution in the South Asian Seas Region,” an official release said.
It said that Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will be the competent national authority and national operational contact point for implementation of “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” under the MoU and shall respond to oil and chemical spills on behalf of the goverment.
The ICG Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) will be the national emergency response centre for marine incidents.
The governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had established the SACEP in 1982 in Sri Lanka to promote and support protection of environment in the South Asian region.
The SACEP along with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed a “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” to facilitate international co-operation and mutual assistance in responding to any major oil pollution incident in the seas around Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.