India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives today discussed common security threats and agreed to broad base cooperation by expanding the scope to improve intelligence sharing.
The 4th National Security Adviser level Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation was hosted by Sri Lanka in Colombo today with the participation of Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser of India, Mariya Didi, Minister of Defence of Maldives and Major General (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 ‘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 mutual 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. (Colombo Gazette)