Written by Keshala Dias
28 Nov, 2016 | 7:22 pm
The Sri Lanka Navy’s International Maritime Conference, Galle Dialogue 2016 commenced in Colombo today.The two-day conference organised by the Navy under aegis of the Ministry of Defence, is being held for the seventh consecutive year.
President Maithripala Sirisena graced the inaugural session of the conference as the chief guest. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanyake and Field Marshal, Minister Sarath Fonseka were among the other notable attendees at the conference
The conference, which will conclude on Tuesday, November 29, will see more than 120 participants from 40 countries and twelve international organisations discuss thematic issues relating to Fostering Strategic Maritime Partnerships this year.
The conference also saw the participation of several Navy chiefs from various countries.
State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said, the maritime domain and its affairs today have become the crucial factors which have the ability to decide and influence the present and future affairs to a greater extent. The state minister stated that he is confident that our future, as well as future contributions in the field of energy and security, will be able to make a significant impact in the Indian Ocean region.
“Sri Lanka has a huge responsibility to ensure the continuous flow of this vital life line, as no nation is capable of facing the challenges and threats in the maritime domain in isolation. We too seek co-operation and coordination from all nations to ensure that the Indian Ocean is kept free from challenges and threats, and I strongly believe our future lies in the ocean”, he said.
Commander of Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, speaking at the conference said that, he would say that partnerships matter more than anything in the present context. The Commander of the Navy said if the partnerships prosper we can have the confidence in our partners – and that confidence amongst partners can ensure regional stability by way of illuminating misunderstanding and mistrust.
“Today Sri Lanka is emerging as a main maritime hub in the region”, he said.
“The Colombo Harbour which transits 70 % of containers in the Indian sub continent shows our active involvement in the maritime trade. Ninety five (95 ) foreign war ships from Navy and coastguard around the world visited ports in Sri Lanka from January 8, 2015 – the day the new Government of His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena came into power – to date”.
He went on to note that this number shows the confidence placed in Sri Lanka by the foreign countries – on the Sri Lankan government and the importance of our harbours as a major logistic hub for the solid war ships.
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