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India, Sri Lanka & Maldives Agree to Bolster Maritime Security Cooperation, Ensure Peace for Common Benefit

High safety officers of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Saturday agreed to additional strengthen cooperation and guarantee peace for widespread profit as they took inventory of the present maritime safety atmosphere within the area through the high-level trilateral dialogue which was held right here after a niche of six years. Nationwide Safety Advisor Ajit Doval took half within the dialogue together with Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Main Gen (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne and Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Didi.

Sri Lanka hosted the fourth Nationwide Safety Adviser-level trilateral assembly on maritime safety cooperation with India and the Maldives. It befell after six years – the final one was held in New Delhi in 2014. In accordance with a joint assertion issued by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence, the three international locations — recognising the importance of the discussion board for selling significant cooperation within the Indian Ocean Area on widespread points pertaining to maritime safety — took inventory of the present maritime safety atmosphere within the area.

They mentioned mutual cooperation within the areas of Maritime Area Consciousness, Humanitarian Help and Catastrophe Reduction, Joint Workout routines, Capability Constructing, Maritime Safety and Threats, Marine Air pollution, and Maritime Underwater Heritage, it mentioned. They agreed to additional strengthen cooperation in coping with these challenges, to make sure peace and safety within the area for widespread profit, the joint assertion mentioned.

The three international locations additionally exchanged views on widespread safety threats and agreed to broad base cooperation by increasing the scope to enhance intelligence sharing and embody points like terrorism, radicalisation, extremism, medicine, arms and human trafficking, cash laundering, cyber safety and impact of local weather change on maritime atmosphere, it mentioned. The assembly befell amidst China’s makes an attempt to reinforce its affect within the resource-rich Indo-Pacific area and the Indian Ocean.

China views the Maldives and Sri Lanka as key to its Maritime Silk Street venture within the Indian Ocean. It has already acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on lengthy lease and established a navy base in Djibouti within the Horn of Africa. The Heads of Delegations agreed to satisfy often to share, talk about and guarantee well timed implementation of selections taken on the assembly. Additionally they determined to carry Deputy NSA degree working group conferences biannually for cooperation at operational degree, in accordance with the assertion.

Mauritius and Seychelles have been represented nearly at senior officers’ degree, it mentioned, including that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dialogue was performed adhering to strict well being tips utilizing the ‘Air Bubble’ idea for the visiting delegations. Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives launched the Trilateral NSA degree Assembly on Maritime Safety Cooperation in 2011 and three conferences have been held thus far.

The previous deliberations and outcomes have helped the three international locations in bettering shut coordination in maritime safety of the area. These have been supplemented by Deputy NSA degree conferences for sustained engagements and implementation of the discussions on the NSA degree conferences, the assertion mentioned. Sri Lankan Overseas Minister Dinesh Gunawardena addressed the assembly because the chief visitor. Overseas Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage additionally attended the occasion, the Sri Lankan Overseas Ministry tweeted.

Doval, who arrived in Colombo on Friday for the dialogue, on Friday met Didi and held a cordial and detailed dialogue on deepening bilateral partnership with the important thing island nation within the Indian Ocean. Doval additionally met Gunaratne on Friday and so they agreed on a number of steps to additional strengthen the “helpful” cooperation between the 2 international locations which additionally contributes to peace and safety within the area.

“NSA Ajit Doval met Main Gen(Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne, Defence Secretary of SriLanka & mentioned issues pertaining to the rising defence and safety partnership between the 2 international locations,” the Indian Excessive Fee in Colombo mentioned in a tweet. The high-level trilateral assembly is designed to provoke collective motion on maritime safety together with maritime area consciousness, authorized regimes, practice in search and rescue, maritime air pollution response, data sharing, curbing piracy medicine arms and contraband trafficking within the Indian Ocean area.

On Thursday, the Exterior Affairs Ministry in New Delhi mentioned the NSA-level trilateral assembly had served as an efficient platform for cooperation amongst Indian Ocean international locations. “The assembly will present a chance for dialogue on points pertaining to cooperation in maritime safety within the Indian Ocean area,” the MEA mentioned in an announcement.

That is Doval’s second official go to to Sri Lanka this 12 months. In January, he visited the island nation and mentioned a variety of bilateral points, together with strengthening cooperation in defence, intelligence sharing and maritime safety with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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