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* Sri Lanka, India, and Maldives hold meeting on trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation
Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 10:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 06, New Delhi: India hosted the third National Security Advisor (NSA) -level Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation between Maldives, Sri Lanka and India on 6 March 2014 in New Delhi.

Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa led the Sri Lankan delegation, while the Maldivian Minister of Defense and National Security Col (Retd) Mohamed Nazim led that country's delegation.

Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon led the Indian delegation and chaired the meeting.

Delegations from Mauritius and Seychelles also participated in the meeting as Guest countries, Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

During the second NSA-level meeting held in Colombo in July 2013, the three neighboring countries agreed to cooperate in carrying out surveillance, anti-piracy operations and curbing illegal activities including maritime pollution.

The roadmap for cooperation in maritime security agreed at the meeting included activities to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through access to systems run under the aegis of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), such as Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) services and sharing of Automatic Identification System (AIS) data.

Training and capacity building initiatives in areas of MDA, Search and Rescue, and Oil Pollution Response and joint activities including trilateral exercises, maintaining lines of communication on illegal maritime activities, formulation of marine oil pollution response contingency plans and cooperation in legal and policy issues related to piracy comprised the future plans.

At today's meeting the participants reviewed and expressed satisfaction over the progress in the implementation of various activities in the areas identified at the second meeting.

They also discussed new areas of cooperation including hydrography; training in Visit, Board, Search and Seizure Operations; training on board Indian Sail Training Ships; exchanges between think tanks; and joint participation in adventure activities.

The participants directed the Working/Technical Level Groups to meet at an early date to accelerate the implementation of joint activities and work out a programme of cooperation in the new areas.

The participants also welcomed the presence of Mauritius and Seychelles in the meeting. They noted that participation of Mauritius and Seychelles in this initiative would contribute to enhancing maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

The next NSA level Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation would be held in Maldives on a date to be decided.

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