(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Navies from China, India and the United Sates (US), United Kingdom (UK), Japan, and the Maldives are to meet in Colombo next week at a conference organised by the Sri Lanka Navy.
Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva said that over 140 participants from 50 countries are scheduled to attend the conference.
He said that the conference will be used to discuss common issues pertinent to the navies around the world.
Among the countries which have confirmed participation are China, the US, India, United Kingdom (UK), Japan, and the Maldives.
The US and India have consistently raised concerns over China’s role in Sri Lanka and have been particularly concerned over the possibility of the Chinese Navy establishing a base in Sri Lanka.
Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva said that the conference will give Sri Lanka an opportunity to share its views and experience on maritime security and also establish links with the navies from other countries.
He noted that some of the “Big players” in the Indian Ocean need Sri Lanka’s assistance to face maritime security threats and similarly Sri Lanka needs the assistance of other countries.
Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva said collaborating with other navies has helped Sri Lanka combat human smuggling, heroin smuggling and to also carry out rescue operations are sea.
The Navy said that it has already managed to block several attempts by Sri Lankan asylum seekers to travel by sea illegally and seek asylum in Australia or Reunion Island.