Sri Lanka, India, Maldives to cooperate on maritime safety and security

A trilateral security meeting among Sri Lanka, India and Maldives has identified maritime safety and security, terrorism and radicalization, trafficking and organized crime and cybersecurity as the “four pillars” of cooperation

Aug 09, 2021
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Sri Lanka, India, Maldives maritime safety and security

A trilateral security meeting among Sri Lanka, India and Maldives has identified maritime safety and security, terrorism and radicalization, trafficking and organized crime and cybersecurity as the “four pillars” of cooperation.

Sri Lanka hosted the first Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA) level Meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave virtually last week, according to the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Bangladesh, Mauritius and Seychelles participated as observers in the meeting that discussed specific proposals for cooperation and each of the four identified pillars including holding regular interaction, joint exercises, capacity building and training activities.

The meeting came nine months after India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval traveled to Colombo and met Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Kamal Gunaratne and Maldives Defense Minister Mariya Didi. The meeting decided to establish Colombo Security Conclave to forge closer cooperation on maritime and security matters among the three Indian Ocean countries.

The Indian Ocean – the world’s third largest – has become more crucial in terms of maritime security and geo-strategic point of view, particularly with China taking a deep interest in spreading its influence in the region.

According to Professor Shahab Enam Khan, Research Director, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, the Indian Ocean links the political and security dynamics in four regions – the Persian Gulf, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Africa.

India has in the past expressed its reservations about China being awarded development projects in Sri Lanka, close to India’s southern borders.

On the other hand, Maldives’ engagement with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) comprising the US, India, Japan and Australia has been growing.

In the latest session, all participants stressed the vital role of cooperation and coordination in dealing with contemporary security challenges in the region, as well as capacity and capability enhancement among themselves, in keeping with the spirit of regional cooperation.

The meeting was marked by the convergence of views on common security threats and was held in a warm, positive and forward-looking manner, the High Commission said.

The meeting discussed specific proposals for cooperation and each of the four identified pillars including holding regular interaction, joint exercises, capacity building and training activities.

(SAM)