Sri Lanka is concerned about the security situation in the Indian Ocean Region and Sea Lines of Communication, Defence Secretary, General (Retd) Shantha Kottegoda said today.
Kottegoda said this while speaking at the ‘Defence Seminar 2019’ which opened in Colombo today.
The Defence Secretary said that the Indian Ocean contains very vital sea routes that connects the East and West, which have become the life line for many nation states not only within the rim of it, but also all those who depend on sea line communication for commerce, energy resources, explorations and military domination of the region.
“There are many forms of military developments taking place in the IOR in the present era. The nation states are strengthening and developing their military forces as a matter of deterrence to other nations looking for stability through military modernizations. On the other hand, there is a trend of increasing the presence of foreign military forces and fleets to establish and maintain the regional stability that is necessary for global security,” he said.
He also noted that there is a massive development in rebel, insurgent, guerrilla and terrorist groups that have religious, political or other motives.
“IOR is home for a large number of active armed conflicts associated with political causes. Most of these conflicts have their roots embedded in the divide and rule concept of governance of their colonial masters. These long standing unsolved conflicts have resulted in military developments and modernization of the armies of the affected nations. Also the rebel groups that are engaging in non-conventional conflict with legitimate military forces too have contributed to militarization of the region to a very large extent,” he said.
Kottegoda said that as a result of this fluid security situation in the region in connection with terrorism and rebellions, peaceful nation states too have taken steps to strengthen their military forces to deter any emerging threat to their peaceful existence.
“Religious extremism is another root cause of conflict in the IOR. Religiously motivated extremist groups have become a huge threat to the peace and stability in the region, thus such militant entities and the nation states that are being affected by this cause too have become active players in the military modernization and developments in the region,” he said.
Kottegoda said that the situation has presented an opportunity for external global powers to get actively involved in regional security issues and to maintain a military presence and bases in the name of global security and stability.