Tuesday, October 2, 2012

8th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM)
The 8th meeting of Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) will be held on Oct 03, 2012 in New Delhi. This is the first ever meeting of the HACGAM in the South Asian Region which is being co-hosted by the Indian Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard under the auspices of Nippon foundation, Japan.

HACGAM is an apex level forum facilitating congregation of all the major Coast Guard Agencies of Asian region. This initiative was developed initially in 2004 to discuss cooperation among the member organizations to combat piracy in the region. However, the scope of discussions has been expanded to include law enforcement, maritime security, disaster prevention and relief and capacity building. Presently, there are 21 member organizations from 17 countries that are part of the initiative.

The process of cooperation amongst the HACGAM was initiated by Japan consequent to the capture of the pirated vessel M.V. Alondra Rainbow by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in November 1999. Subsequently, a series of Regional Senior Experts Meetings of Coast Guard Agencies of Asia were held on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships. The 4th such meeting held in Pattaya, Thailand in Feb 2004 recommended conducting the meeting of the Heads of the Coast Guard Agencies in Jun 2004. Accordingly, the first HACGAM was conducted at Tokyo, Japan in June 2004. The initiative consists of 17 countries and one region. These include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Further, it was also agreed that the scope of discussions may not be restricted only to piracy issues but may also include all Coast Guard related issues.

The HACGAM is conducted every year and seven such meetings have been conducted till date. In earlier years, it has been held in places like Tokyo, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Singapore, Manila, Bali, Shanghai and Hanoi. 

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