India, Maldives and Sri Lanka have agreed on a roadmap for future cooperation in maritime security,¬† the Indian High Commission in Colombo said today.
This was after a meeting¬† ¬†on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives held in Colombo. Mr. Shivshankar Menon, National Security Adviser of India, visited Colombo on 8-9 July 2013 to participate in the meeting.
The Indian High Commission in a press release said:
Governments of India, Sri Lanka and Maldives have been engaged in trilateral discussions to address the common maritime challenges in the Indian Ocean region. Following the meeting on 8 July, the three-side agreed on a roadmap for future cooperation in maritime security. In this context, they signed an Outcome Document outlining further collaborative measures in the areas ofinter alia Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA); strengthening coordination of maritime Search and Rescue (SAR); promoting marine oil pollution response cooperation; expanding ‚ÄòDOSTI‚Äô (friendship) exercises;sharing of information on illegal maritime activities; and piracy. The text of the Outcome Document is enclosed.
The next NSA-Level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives will take place in New Delhi at a mutually convenient time.
During his visit, the National Security Adviser called on President ¬†¬†and also held bilateral meetings with Minister for Economic Development Mr. Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka. In these meetings, both sides reviewed the progress in bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on areas of common concern.
The Outcome Document of the Second NSA-Level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka¬† follows;
1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Second NSA-level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka (hereinafter referred to as the ‚ÄòTrilateral Meeting‚Äô) took place in Colombo on 8, July 2013. The Indian side was led by H E Shivshankar Menon, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Republic of India, the Maldivian side by Hon Mohamed Nazim, Minister of Defence and National Security of the Republic of Maldives and the Sri Lanka side by Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (hereinafter referred to as the ‚Äòthree sides‚Äô).
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Following the First NSA-level Trilateral Meeting in Male on 1 October 2011, four meetings were held at the senior official and technical level between the three sides. This preparatory work has been useful in framing the outcomes of the Second NSA-level Trilateral Meeting.
3.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† During the Second NSA-level Trilateral Meeting, the three sides discussed a wide range of topics including enhancing cooperation in Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through provision of Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) services, MDA¬† training and Merchant Ship Information System (MSIS) software by India, sharing of Automatic Identification System (AIS) data; strengthening coordination of maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) including SAR training; promoting marine oil pollution response cooperation; expanding bilateral ‚ÄòDOSTI‚Äô (friendship) exercises through holding of table top exercises; further enhancing sharing of the information on illegal maritime activities through existing points of contact; and forming a trilateral sub-group focused on policy and legal issues related to piracy. The roadmap for future cooperation in all these areas was confirmed and is outlined below:
(i)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† obtain the facility of the Indian Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Data Centre by Sri Lanka and Maldives in order to monitor and track Maldives and Sri Lanka flagged merchant vessels owned by them. Sri Lanka and Maldives are to provide required details as per International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations through diplomatic channels;
(ii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† utilisation of the Merchant Ship Information System (MSIS) for exchange of unclassified information on white shipping;
(iii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† sharing Automatic Identification System (AIS) data in a trilateral format over the MSIS platform;
(iv)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† undertaking Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) training in India;
(v)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† strengthening maritime linkages in the field of Search and Rescue (SAR) including through SAR operations, providing expertise and technical assistance by India in setting up Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) in Sri Lanka and Maldives, coordination in relaying and receiving distress alerts and safety messages, and, conduct of SAR training in India;
(vi)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† strengthening mechanisms for Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance and providing additional support and assets on a case by case basis;
(vii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† maintaining lines of communication on illegal maritime activities between identified Points of Contact and exchanging messages on a regular basis;
(viii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† strengthening marine pollution response cooperation through conduct of IMO Level I and Level II courses in India, formulating Contingency Plans for pollution response, capacity building, and participating in India‚Äôs National Pollution Response Exercise (NATPOLREX), as observers;
(ix)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† strengthening the biennial trilateral exercise ‚ÄòDOSTI‚Äô by conducting table top exercises and seminars on maritime issues in every alternate year;
(x)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† passing Tsunami warnings simultaneously to agreed Points of Contact in addition to the designated National Tsunami Warning Centres;
(xi)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† setting up a trilateral sub-group focused on legal and policy issues related to piracy.
4.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 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 this context, it was also agreed to explore the possibility of expanding the scope of the trilateral initiative to include other Indian Ocean littoral countries.
5.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The three sides agreed that the Third NSA-level Trilateral Meeting will be convened at a mutually convenient date in 2014 to review the progress made in implementing the areas of cooperation agreed upon as well as identifying new areas of cooperation. They also agreed that prior to the Third NSA-level Trilateral Meeting, the Working Group would meet to implement the consensus and decisions agreed to by the three sides at the Second NSA-level Trilateral Meeting.