Colombo: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for co-operation on the response to oil and chemical pollution in the South Asian seas in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo.
The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and other maritime nations comprising the South Asian seas region namely Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for protection and preservation of the marine environment in the region.
A high-level delegation led by DG Rajendra Singh, Director General Indian Coast Guard on official visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka has handed over the instrument of consent by the Government of India to the Dr Muhammad Khurshid, Director General, SACEP Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 12 in presence of Indian High Commission, Colombo staff and other dignitaries.
Indian Coast Guard on behalf of the centre will be responsible for cooperation and respond to all incidents of oil and chemical pollution in South Asian Seas Region as and when assistance is requested by the member state during a spill.
With a view to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the South Asian region, the Governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka established the SACEP in 1982 as an inter-governmental organisation, with its headquarter in Colombo.
The SACEP jointly with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed a "Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan" in 1989 to facilitate international co-operation and mutual assistance in preparing for and responding to a major oil pollution incident in the seas around the Maritime States of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.