Sept 01, Colombo: Sri Lanka, located right in the middle of the orient, seeks an inclusive Indian Ocean that is peaceful, stable, and secure as establishing a Peaceful Indian Ocean Region, is essential for the long and short-term wellbeing of the region and the billions of people living in the Indian Ocean countries, Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said.
Speaking at the Panel on Peace in the Indian Ocean Region at the 2nd Indian Ocean Conference 2017 in Colombo on Friday, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the 'Peace and Stability' in the Indian Ocean is essential for the development and progress of the Indian Ocean region, and the world at large.
Kariyawasam calling for a 'rules-based architecture' to secure peace and stability in the region said the cooperation and friendship are the only means to lift the millions that live in the Indian Ocean littoral countries out of poverty and conflict, for meaningful prosperity.
"We must choose friendship, cooperation, and mutual benefit, shunning adversarial competition and conflict. We must take steps without delay, in the interest of all our people, to put in place a strong, transparent, inter-dependent and rules-based architecture that can secure for our people, the peace and prosperity that will benefit all."
The Foreign Secretary pointed out that the Indian Ocean Peace poses many challenges as well as opportunities in the present day.
"The Ocean keeps the networks of trading alive, providing livelihood and delivering prosperity to our people. At the same time, it also keeps the networks of terrorism, piracy, drug smuggling, and human trafficking, alive, which requires constant vigilance and action through cooperation, in our common interest," he said.
He said Sri Lanka desires a system in the Indian Ocean where all countries pursue their territorial claims and pursue their aspirations in accordance with international law and ready to work with its partners in the region and beyond for this purpose.
As the seas remain the primary mode for the international transportation of goods, sustaining peace and stability in the Oceans including in the Indian Ocean is essential for peace and stability in the littoral, Kariyawasam emphasized. He said in this context, the proposal presented by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to establish a Code of Conduct in the Indian Ocean requires urgent attention.
"It is a win-win proposal that can create an inclusive architecture. We must think innovatively as to how we can work on this proposal, and the appropriate forum for doing so, with the participation of all stakeholders that live in this region and those connected to this region, from beyond."
The two-day Indian Ocean Conference 2017, commenced Thursday at the Temple Trees with the participation of from around 35 countries and speakers from 25 countries.
The conference organized by the Delhi-based think tank, India Foundation in collaboration with Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) of Singapore and National institute of Fundamental Studies of Colombo under the theme 'Peace, Progress and Prosperity' in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), is chaired by Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.