New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) India, Sri Lanka and Maldives have embarked on a five-day maritime exercise off the Maldivian coast to strengthen the capabilities of their coast guards to prevent criminal activities, poaching and piracy in their waters and beyond.
The biannual five-day exercise, Dosti-XI, began Monday and will end Friday.
The exercise was originally started in 1991 with the objective of strengthening co-operation between Indian and Maldivian coast guards with a view to enhancing mutual capabilities for search and rescue operations, combating piracy and armed robbery, damage control and casualty evacuation at sea for safer seas.
This year, Sri Lankan Navy too has joined the exercise, making it a trilateral effort, according to the Indian ministry of external affairs.
'The present expansion of the joint training exercises to include Sri Lanka from 2012 onwards marks an important milestone in the evolution of the Dosti exercises,' an official release said.
The exercise would aim to strengthen the bonds of friendship and enhance the mutual operational capability and cooperation between the forces of the three participating countries and would focus on maritime search and rescue, marine pollution response, and boarding operations.
'In this round of exercises, two Indian Coast Guard Ships - ICGS Sankalp and ICGS Subhadra and an ICG Dornier aircraft would take part along with three Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) coast guard vessels - Huravee, Ghazee and Shaheed Ali from the Maldivian side and an offshore patrol vessel SLNS Sagara from the Sri Lankan Navy,' it added.
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