Several Sri Lankans were arrested while attempting to reach Australia by boat over the past few years, and those who reached Australia have been detained at an offshore detention centre.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on a visit to Australia and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull underlined the importance of continuing to counter the illegal people smuggling trade, which puts vulnerable peoples’ lives at risk and enriches criminal networks, the Prime Minister’s office quoted a joint statement as saying.
The joint statement said the two Prime Ministers had emphasised their commitment to detect and deter people smuggling ventures and to strengthen the close working relationship between agencies.
” They welcomed strong achievements, particularly in countering people smuggling and strengthening people-to-people links. They underlined new opportunities to expand the economic relationship presented by Sri Lanka’s ambitious economic reform agenda, deeper integration with the global economy and progress toward becoming an important Indian Ocean economic hub,” the joint statement said.
The Prime Ministers also reiterated the shared interest in regional stability and noted that as Indo-Pacific neighbours, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) members and trading nations, both countries benefited from a peaceful and secure maritime domain.
The two Prime Ministers committed to closer cooperation and engagement in the Indo-Pacific to help create a more prosperous and secure region. (Colombo Gazette)