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    ‘Regional cooperation a must for Indian Ocean stability’ Featured

    October 23, 2018

    President Maithriapla Sirisena receives a special memento presented by Navy Commander Vice Admiral Sirimewan Ranasinghe after he inaugurated the Galle Dialogue 2018 International Maritime Conference in Colombo yesterday morning.

    The two-day conference on the theme “Synergizing for Collaborative Maritime Management” jointly organised by the Defence Ministry and the Sri Lanka Navy for the ninth time and attended by delegates of 50 countries and 17 international organisations concludes today (October 23). Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Deputy Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardana, Defence Ministry Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne, Chief of Defence Staff and the three Service Chiefs wee among those present. Picture by Sandaruwan Amarasinghe
    The Indian Ocean today is emerging as a hub of global economic activity. The third-largest water body of the world with rim nations of 2.7 billion people has experienced maritime threats caused by piracy, narcotics and human smuggling, terrorism, waste dumping and IUU fishing over the past few decades, said Defence Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne, PC.
    Speaking at the Galle Dialogue 2018 under the theme ‘Synergizing for collaborative maritime management’ yesterday, he said protecting maritime resources, countering the diverse challenges and ensuring uninterrupted global trade is not an easy task by any means. Therefore, securing the sea lines of communication passing Sri Lanka has become a priority in the global maritime domain.
    “The Galle Dialogue 2018 affords a forum for regional and extra-regional players to speak on their maritime vision and management plan, discuss the challenges, and better understand each other. It is against such a background, with renewed focus on Indian Ocean affairs, that the ninth meeting of the Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference continues on its legacy of connecting the East and the West.”
    The opportunities and challenges that exist in the maritime domain need to be addressed with strength, wisdom and benevolence. Therefore, it is imperative that maritime affairs, concerns and issues are managed in a collaborative framework in a comprehensive manner,” he said.
    Waidyaratne noted that international maritime conferences like the Galle Dialogue, therefore, can play a vital role in providing a platform for much-needed discussions and ensure that stakeholders have equal access to shared domains.
    Due to Sri Lanka’s geo-strategic position and easy access to the Indian Ocean, its role to secure and promote a peaceful environment in the Indian Ocean is clear to the entire world. But, he said, there are many challenges and threats we face.
    “These challenges could only be mitigated through regional and extra-regional collaborative measures while expanding the information network and thereby reinforcing the capacity to contain maritime challenges to an appreciable level.”
    The Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference since its inception has become an important platform for improving mutual trust, reaching consensus, and strengthening cooperation for navies and other stakeholders from regional and trans-regional countries.“We must seek cooperation and assistance from all nations to ensure that the Indian Ocean is free from all threats and challenges.’’
    “It is the responsibility of all of us as neighbours within the Indian Ocean to take easy steps at our command to ensure safe navigation in the waters within our region,” the Defence Secretary said.”

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