Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister calls for more engagement among Indian Ocean powers to increase dividends from economic, political and security relations
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe has reportedly noted a Sri Lankan-assisted multilateral and multi-stakeholder platform to promote stronger maritime engagement in an inclusive and rules-based mechanism between Indian Ocean powers to increase dividends from economic, political and security relations.
Addressing the Indian Ocean Conference in Vietnam held under the title ‘Building Regional Architectures’, Wickremesinghe has outlined the challenges for stakeholders to tap into complementary traits and foster strategic cooperation and trade ties between countries, consolidate security frameworks and administrative processes, and contribute to maintaining regional peace, stability, development and connectivity.
“The stability of the Indian Ocean is to our mutual interest. This region has enormous economic potential and is the lifeline of global trade. It is our view that in order to uphold order, a mechanism for cooperation needs to be explored. We also believe there is a need for the Indian Ocean to explore ways to augment cooperation across the maritime domain, such regionalism should strive to create closer linkages between ASEAN, IORA and BIMSTEC. The preference is for a rules-based order in the Indian Ocean that benefits all,” he told the gathering.
“Our aim is not to draft a new code but to initiate a process. Our purpose is to create a platform for dialogue where Indian Ocean states and major maritime users are able to convene and discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. Towards this end we will be hosting a Track 1.5 dialogue in Colombo on 11 and 12 October on the theme ‘The Indian Ocean: Defining Our Future’. This will be the lead-up to a multilateral conference, which we hope to hold in 2019 with the aim of developing an understanding among Indian Ocean states and major maritime users,” the Premier has said.
According to Wickremesinghe, the Indian Ocean is being increasingly defined as the ocean of the future. The linkages between the Indian and Pacific oceans are envisaged to create a maritime superhighway that can bring prosperity to all.
The call by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister from countries in the Indian Ocean region is indicative of the important role the region would play in the global economy in future. Given Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean, the country would play the role of a hub in the region. Therefore, exploring investment opportunities in the country and entering the Sri Lankan economy would be an investment for the future.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/03092018/Z_4|