|Study on National Strategy for Maritime Security unveiled|
|Thursday, 03 July 2008|
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has emphasized the paramount need for Sri Lanka to adopt a national strategy for maritime security, given her geo-strategic location in the Indian Ocean straddling the vital sea route linking the Orient and the West. He made this observation at a meeting held at the Foreign Ministry on 27 June 2008, when a Concept Paper on “National Strategy for Maritime Security of Sri Lanka” was presented to him. The in-depth study and analysis on this subject was commissioned by the Minister and conducted by a Committee appointed by him under the auspices of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS).
Minister Bogollagama highlighted the increasing importance of maritime security and maritime related activities, particularly to an island nation such as Sri Lanka. He further stated that after addressing the Shangri-La Summit in Singapore in June 2007 on regional maritime security, he became convinced of the urgent need to conduct an in-depth study on this subject.
The concept paper on maritime security, which was the first such comprehensive study conducted in Sri Lanka, covered a wide range of aspects of maritime security. Having researched and identified the threats, objectives and the strategic plan of action, the paper has suggested that Sri Lanka should formulate a well defined national maritime security strategy for the protection of marine resources from unlawful exploitation, prevention of damage or harm to vital assets from acts of subversion, terrorism or sabotage. The Committee has proposed a number plans including maritime domain awareness, maritime intelligence integration, an integrated maritime threat response, a regional and global coordinated strategy, maritime infrastructure recovery, maritime transportation and commercial security.
The paper has also proposed the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Council at national level and a National Maritime Coordinating Authority through the enactment of legislation, where the Ministry of Defence would play a leading role in conjunction with civilian agencies. The establishment of a Net-Centric Communications Network linking the various units, has also been suggested, which would facilitate real time information, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Foreign Minister Bogollagama said that today, terrorism which has become an omnipresent threat, poses many challenges to nations in various forms, including through the trade of illicit arms and narcotics as well as human smuggling. He said that action would be taken shortly to present the concept paper to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for consideration.
The Committee which undertook the study comprised Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Chief of Defence Staff, Mr. C. A. N. Perera, Executive Director of LKIIRSS, Brigadier (Retired) Vipul Boteju, Deputy Director of LKIIRSS, Major General (Retired) Kamal Fernando, Communications Consultant, Rear Admiral (Retired) Terence Sundaram, Maritime Affairs Advisor, SLPA, Rear Admiral (Retired) D.K. Dassanayake and Dr. Hiran Jayewardene, Secretary General Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC).
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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