National Security Advisers of India, Maldieves and Sri Lanka have agreed that as the maritime nations they have to play the role of the first responders for security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Thetwo-day fifth National Security Adviser-level meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave was held here on Wednesday in which the NSAs discussed the significance of close cooperation between member and observer countries in maritime safety and security and countering terrorism and radicalisation, sources said.
As maritime nations as well as close maritime neighbours, NSAs agreed that they play the role of the first responders for the region.
The CSC was formed in 2011 as a trilateral maritime security grouping of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It welcomed Mauritius as a fourth member while Bangladesh and Seychelles attended as observers and have been invited to join the group.
India's NSA Ajit Doval, in his statement, called for strengthening cooperation amongst maritime neighbours to address shared security challenges and as first responders.
The NSA said India was committed to working in “close co-operation with our maritime neighbours” to build capacity through training, supply of equipment, upgrading coastal security installations, and exchange of information for unitedly countering threats.
“Our national security is deeply intertwined with our collective security aspirations in this region. Our geographical proximity allows us to be first responders for each other in crisis situations. We have worked well together, in tackling narcotics trafficking, organised crimes and mitigating threats posed by (maritime) accidents,” Doval said. NSA Doval also proposed a meeting of the Heads of respective Coast Guards this year and setting up of working groups to tackle drug trafficking and transnational crimes.
The NSAs also discussed countering narcotics trafficking and transnational organised crime and cyber security and emerging technologies.
This was the fifth meeting of the conclave. It was earlier called the Trilateral for Maritime Security Cooperation. At the fourth NSA-level meeting of the Trilateral Meeting held in Colombo on November 28, 2020, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives agreed to expand the scope and membership of the group and rename it as the Colombo Security Conclave.
A permanent Secretariat was established in Colombo which coordinates all activities of the conclave and is also responsible for the implementation of the decisions take at the NSA level.
The next meeting of the Conclave is scheduled to be held in India at the Deputy NSA Level. The next NSA level Dialogue will also be held in India.
Sources said there is a possibility of an Oceanographers Conference and a road map is being finalised for activities of the Conclave.