28th May 2021 21:03:44 Hours
The trilateral 4th National Security Adviser level meeting on 'Maritime Security Cooperation ', held during the weekend on Saturday (28) at Colombo Hotel Taj Samudra with the participation of Mr Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser of India, Ms. Mariya Didi, Minister of Defence of Maldives and Maj. Gen. (retd) Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary to Ministry of Defence came to a close this afternoon agreeing to further strengthen cooperation in dealing with maritime challenges in the Indian ocean and ensure peace and security in the region for common benefit.
Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dinesh Gunawardena graced the inauguration as the Chief Guest of the Meeting. High Commissioner of India, Ambassador for the Maldives, Foreign Ministry Secretary Admiral (retd) Prof. Jayanath Colombage, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID 19 Outbreak, Navy and Air Force Commanders, Inspector General of Police, Director General Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Senior Officials of both Sri Lankan Foreign and Defence Ministries and Senior Military Officers were among the attendees.
Several experts in the field of maritime defence from India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, together with observers from Mauritius and Seychelles, India and the Maldives were represented during the sessions at Senior Officials ' level .
The forum, 4th in sequence took stock of the current maritime security environment in the region and the existing cooperation in the areas of Maritime Domain Awareness, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Joint Exercises, Capacity Building, Maritime Security and Threats, Marine Pollution and Maritime Underwater Heritage, Covid-19 challenges, etc. They agreed to further strengthen cooperation in dealing with these challenges, to ensure peace and security in the region for common benefit.
Major General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary of Defence delivered welcome remarks and underlined the momentous importance of this sort of dialogue at trilateral level on a regular basis. Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs made the keynote address before sessions commenced deliberations. Mr Lalith Weerathunga, Advisor to HE the President made the closing remarks.
A joint Press Statement issued by the Ministry of Defence upon conclusion of the sessions reads as follows:
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
The 4th National Security Adviser level Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation was hosted by Sri Lanka in Colombo on 28 November 2020 with the participation of H.E Mr. Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser of India, H.E. Ms. Mariya Didi, Minister of Defence of Maldives and H.E. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary, Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka. Mauritius and Seychelles were represented virtually at Senior Officials ' level. In view of COVID-19, the dialogue was conducted adhering to strict health guidelines using â€˜Air Bubble ' concept for the visiting delegations.
Sri Lanka, India and Maldives launched the Trilateral NSA level Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation in 2011 and three meetings had been held so far. The last meeting was held in March 2014 in New Delhi. The past deliberations and outcomes have helped the three countries in improving close coordination in maritime security of the region. These were supplemented by Deputy NSA level meetings for sustained engagements and implementation of the discussions at the NSA level meetings.
Recognizing the significance of the forum for promoting meaningful cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region on common issues pertaining to maritime security, the three countries took stock of the current maritime security environment in the region and discussed cooperation in the areas of Maritime Domain Awareness, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Joint Exercises, Capacity Building, Maritime Security and Threats, Marine Pollution, and Maritime Underwater Heritage. They agreed to further strengthen cooperation in dealing with these challenges, to ensure peace and security in the region for common benefit.
The three countries also exchanged views on common security threats and agreed to broad base cooperation by expanding the scope to improve intelligence sharing and include issues like terrorism, radicalization, extremism, drugs, arms & human trafficking, money laundering, cyber security and effect of climate change on maritime environment.
The Heads of Delegations agreed to meet regularly to share, discuss and ensure timely implementation of decisions taken at the Meeting. They also decided to hold Deputy NSA level working group meetings biannually for cooperation at operational level. (Ends).