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    SASEAN Defence Chiefs' Dialogue -2014 to be held in Colombo

    September 12, 2014

    Sri Lanka is to initiate and host the inaugural South and Southeast Asian Nations (SASEAN) Defence Chiefs' Dialogue- 2014 in November (2014) in Colombo. A press conference in this regard was held at the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff under the patronage of the Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriys yesterday (11th September).

     

    This, first of its kind meeting of Defence Chiefs in the region is held under a directive of Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa upon a proposal made by the Chief of Defence Staff. The conclave will be held from 27th to 29th November at the Kingbury Hotel and the Waters Edge hotel. A dedicated web page (http://www.ocds.lk/defence_chiefs_dialogue2014/) that offers quick and easy access to essential information on the event was also launched today during the press briefing by General Jayasuriya. In addition to the eight SAARC and ten ASEAN member nation defence chiefs, high ranking defence officials from China and Russia are also expected to participate as observers.

     

    The South and South East Asian Nations (SASEAN) Defence Chiefs' Dialogue is initiated with the objective of promoting regional peace and stability through dialogue and cooperation in the spheres of defence and security, promoting mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges, and contributing to the establishment of a SASEAN Security Community (SSC). This regular common forum for the Defence Chiefs of Asia is expected to reinforce the vision of The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

     

    CICA mooted in 1992 encompasses the largest membership among regional organizations in Asia engaged in promoting security and stability. It provides a multinational forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace and stability in Asia and brings together the political leadership in the region. The member states of CICA, while affirming their commitment to the UN Charter believe that peace and security in Asia can be achieved through dialogue and cooperation leading to a common indivisible area of security in Asia where all states co- exists peacefully and their peoples live in peace, freedom and prosperity.

     

    The demographic and economic dynamics in Asia are in rapid transition particularly in South and South East Asia thus propelling the region into geopolitical prominence. Asia will be the most populous region in the world by 2050. It will be complemented by a youth bulge which will have an exponential impact on security and stability in the region. Asia will continue to attract non state actors offering tempting opportunities for proxy warfare. The Indo-Pacific Ocean will grow into prominence as the contemporary silk route. The rapid growth in the Asian economies will regenerate the expansion of trade and transfer of resources in and out of the region. This resurgence will exert a pull on the geo strategic interests of extra regional powers.

     

    The Office of the Chief of Defence Staff in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development of Sri Lanka feels it apt to convene the inaugural South and South East Asian Nations (SASEAN) Defence Chiefs' Dialogue in Colombo Sri Lanka as a catalyst in promoting security and stability in meeting up to the challenges of the Asian resurgence.

     

    The participation at the SASEAN Defence Chiefs' Dialogue will extend to the member states of SAARC and ASEAN. The Dialogue will also see the participation of Russia and China as observers.

     

    The agenda for the SASEAN Defence Chiefs' Dialogue will be broad and flexible and will encompass the exchange of views on regional and extra regional security and defence issues, voluntary briefings on defence and security policies, discussion on related activities outside the Asian region, discussion on interaction with external partners, promoting SASEAN defence cooperation and encourage networking among the Defence Chiefs.

     

    The SASEAN Defence Chiefs' Dialogue will be guided by The Declaration of Principles Guiding Relations between CICA Member States in its efforts to promote regional peace and security. CICA's Defence Officials will take the lead in the SASEAN Defence Chiefs' Dialogue. It is anticipated that the SASEAN Defence Chiefs' Dialogue shall eventually become an integral part of CICA, add value and complement the overall CICA process and be open, flexible and outward-looking in respect of actively engaging CICA's member states, observer states and observer organisations.

     

    The inaugural meeting in Sri Lanka is to be followed by annual meetings hosted by the members of the SASEAN Defence Chiefs' Dialogue in rotation decided at the preceding meeting. A secretariat is to be formed and a mandate for the secretariat to function during the intervening period is to be adopted at the inaugural and subsequent meetings.

     

    Senior military officers and a large number of media personnel were present at the press briefing.

    (MoD)

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