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India, Pakistan plan Coast Guard link-up

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May 11, 2005 21:09 IST

India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to establish a communication link between Coast Guards of the two countries to exchange information on a variety of maritime issues, official sources said.

Indian Coast Guard officials and their counterparts in Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency, after two-days of talks, finalised a Memorandum of Understanding that would be signed after endorsement by the respective governments.

"All outstanding issues in the MoU on the establishment of communication link have been resolved leading to a consensus document," said a joint statement.

It said the communication link would provide a formal mechanism for exchange of information relating to 'violation of Exclusive Economic Zone, search and rescue operations, control of pollution, natural disasters and calamities, smuggling and drug trafficking'.

Officials said the MoU envisages establishing a telephone link with designated numbers to periodically communicate on agreed issues.

The Indian delegation was led by Director-General of Coast Guard Vice Admiral A K Singh, while the Pakistan team was headed by Director-General of Maritime Security Agency Rear Admiral Bakhtiar Mohsin.

The MoU is a first step to reach a broader understanding in future talks to liberalise procedures relating to detention of fishermen from both the countries, officials explained.

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