“This Ocean as a vital channel of sea communication facilitates a large volume of energy, raw material and food supply between the East and the West, thus it is imperative that we keep it safe. We don’t want this to be an area of conflict and war or the playground of world military powers,” State Defence Minister Premitha Bandara Tennakoon said.
Bandara represented Sri Lanka at the recently concluded Defence Ministers’ Conclave 2022 at India’s premier biennial global defence exhibition – DefExpo2022 – at Gandhinagar, in India.
Welcoming the partnership between India and Sri Lanka in the defence sphere, the minister noted that DefExpo2022 provided a great opportunity for a deeper understanding of the nature of transformation in modern warfare across five dimensions.
“As Indian Ocean nations, ensuring maritime security plays a pivotal role in our development process as this great ocean is our lifeline with the rest of the world. We should also strive to further strengthen maritime diplomacy across the Indian Ocean to converge with that of other oceans,” the minister stressed.
He said that the countless arrests of large-scale smuggling rackets most importantly dangerous drugs, arms and people smuggling in this region is a result of shared intelligence between regional countries.
State Defence Minister’s comment followed President Ranil Wickremesinghe who wowed last that Sri Lanka would not participate in any military alliance, and does not want the problems of the pacific coming in to the Indian Ocean.
Addressing the nation on September 14, President Wickremesinghe clarified that Sri Lanka would stay out of any big power rivalry and any of these rivalries would not lead to conflict in the Indian Ocean.
“The geopolitics of the Indian Ocean has unfortunately made Sri Lanka the punching bag for Hambantota,” Wickremesinghe said referring to the China-run port at the southernmost point of the Island. (IANS)