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* Sri Lanka, India and Maldives take part in trilateral maritime exercise
Thu, Dec 19, 2013, 12:27 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 19, Trincomalee: Officers of Sri Lanka Coast Guard along with Coast Guard officers of India and Maldives took part in the Trilateral Tabletop Exercise (TTEX) 2013 commenced Wednesday in the Eastern port city of Trincomalee.

Delivering the keynote address as the Chief Guest of the occasion, Director General of Sri Lanka Coast Guard Rear Admiral Ravindra C Wijegunaratne highlighted the importance of trilateral response to major issues such as maritime search and rescue (SAR), oil spill and maritime piracy.

He further underscored the importance of regional approach, coordination and cooperation in effectively addressing those issues.

Coast Guard Officers from the three countries presented three papers on "Response to Oil spills: Importance of Awareness, Preparedness and Regional Approach", "Maritime Piracy: Challenges in the Region and Countermeasures" and "Mass SAR: Regional Challenges and Way ahead" respectively.

Officers of Sri Lanka Army and Air Force also participated in the exercise as observers.

Meanwhile two Indian Coast Guard Ships 'Vishwast' and 'Rajkamal' arrived at the Trincomalee Port to take part in the trilateral exercise.

The two Indian Coast Guard ships will be in Trincomalee from 18th to 20th and will call on Port of Colombo on 22nd December until they leave on the 26th.

During their stay, the Indian Coast Guard ships are expected to conduct number of training sessions for Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard personnel on search and rescue and oil spill response. The two ships are also expected to conduct a passage exercise each in Trincomalee and Colombo.

The Trilateral Tabletop Exercise participants will get an opportunity to be onboard the two ships for a practical demonstration of pollution response during their exercise.

The TTEX is an outcome of the second NSA-level (National Security Advisor) Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka held in Colombo in July 2013.

Following the meeting, the three sides agreed that in the current maritime security environment in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), it was important to raise the level of maritime cooperation between India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

In the Road Map of future co-operation, strengthening the biennial trilateral exercise "Dosthi" by conducting table top exercise and seminars on maritime issues in every other year was charted and this year Sri Lanka is hosting the event.

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