US-SL joint-naval exercise to guard trade in Indian Ocean region
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells communicated the US government’s desire to promote intimate collaboration amongst the naval forces of countries located in the Indian Ocean with the aim of safeguarding its importance as a global trading route where massive amounts of commerce was transacted.
She made these observations during the Indian Ocean Confab held in Colombo recently.
In addition to the US government’s willingness to watch over merchant shipping activities, it has also expressed its commitment towards countering terrorism, transnational crime, human traffickingand the illicit drug trade.
“To combat these challenges, the United States has sought to improve intelligence-sharing among regional partners and improve capacity-building in areas like community policing, counter-narcotics, aviation security, and forensics analysis,” Wells said.
She expanded on the serious requirement to broaden the dialogue concerning maritime responsiveness within the tactically important Indian Ocean.
“In the increasingly crowded maritime environment, the sharing of reliable information is the foundation for greater cooperation. More than half the world’s 90,000 commercial vessels and two thirds of the global oil trade travelled through the Indian Ocean underscoring its strategic importance,” she stated.
“We hope that one day in the not too distant future, all the navies of this region can jointly participate in exercises and coordinate maritime activities to build collective capacity and uphold international standards,” Wells added.
US involvement in promoting maritime security in the Indian Ocean region will greatly assist Sri Lanka in its plans of morphing into a global logistics hub. With the added security know-how the region will become a trusted trade route and Sri Lanka’s strategic geographical location will act as an advantageous base for logistics operations and trading.
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