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Current Affairs

Maritime rescue centre pact

Date: 04 April 2022 Tags: India & World

Issue

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between India and Sri Lanka to set up Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Colombo.

 

Background

It will be a state-of-art centre set up by Indian public sector Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

 

Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC)

  • MRCCs are part of UN’s International Maritime Organisation under international network to monitor the sea lanes.

  • The main objective is to provide swift response to emergencies, like vessels in distress, rescue and evacuation of people, and prevention of and containing environmental disasters.

  • A grant of $6 million will be provided by India to set up MRCC. It will be coordinated by Sri Lankan Navy.

 

Functions of MRCC

  • The MRCC will be upgraded with advanced software to increase Sri Lanka’s capacities for communication and co-ordination in the Indian Ocean.

  • The MRCC will operate out of Sri Lankan Navy headquarters at Colombo. A sub-centre will be established in Hambantota. Seven sub-units will be located along Lankan coastline.

 

Significance

  • The pact enhances co-operation on maritime security between the two countries as a part of the Indian Ocean region.

  • The engagement between the forces will augment interoperability and seamless maritime actions such as carrying out anti-smuggling operations in the Indian Ocean Region.

 

Wider significance

The MRCC is part of India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) initiative in the Indian Ocean.

 

Controversy

The MRCC has been controversial in Sri Lanka. Many print media have accused the pact to hamper sovereignty and security of the nation.

 

Other cooperation

  • India also provided Sri Lankan Navy with a naval floating dock and two Dornier aircraft to the Sri Lankan Air Force.

  • Indian Navy is training Sri Lankan Air Force and Navy in helicopter operations and familiarizing them with India’s Advanced Light Helicopter.