Sri Lanka today sought international cooperation and assistance to ensure that the Indian Ocean is kept free from threats and challenges.
The ‘Galle Dialogue 2017’ annual International Maritime Conference organized by the Sri Lanka Navy for the eighth consecutive year, began in Colombo today.
State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene graced the occasion as the Chief Guest while Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga attended the event as the special guest of honor.
Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah received the chief guest upon his arrival at the venue. Held under the theme ‘Greater Maritime Visibility for Enhanced Maritime Security’, 51 countries including China and India and 12 organizations are attending this year.
Making the keynote address, State Minister Wijewardene said that maritime stakeholders must focus their attention on a greater maritime visibility for enhanced maritime security cooperation with friendly nations.
“The maritime domain and its affairs today have become one of the crucial factors that have the ability to decide and influence the present as well as future affairs to a greater extent,” he said.
The Minister said that Sri Lanka’s strategic location in the Indo-Asia Pacific region is fast becoming the center of gravity in world affairs.
“Fortified with the advantage of this unique position in the Indian Ocean, we are looking at the future with great expectations to regain our maritime glory in the Indian Ocean by promoting mainly trade and tourism,” he noted.
The Minister said that the principal conditions affecting the sea power of nations are primarily their geographical position, their size and extent of coastline, the quantity of their sea-borne trade and the threat to it, maritime ambitions of their neighbours and the number and determination of their population and the understanding and resolve of their leaders and government.
“As no nation is capable of addressing challenges and threats in the maritime domain in isolation, we too seek cooperation and assistance from all nations to ensure that the Indian Ocean is kept free from all threats and challenges,” the Minister said.
Ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, senior Ministry officials, senior tri forces officers and a large gathering of distinguished invitees were present at the opening ceremony. (Colombo Gazette)