The 'Galle Dialogue 2017' annual International Maritime Conference organized by the Sri Lanka Navy for the eighth consecutive year at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo began yesterday (9th Oct.).
State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene graced the occasion as the Chief Guest of the inaugural session. Former President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga attended the event as the special guest of honor.
Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah received the chief guest upon his arrival at the venue. Held under the theme 'Greater Maritime Visibility for Enhanced Maritime Security', the international conclave is being held by the Navy under aegis of the Ministry of Defence with the participation of 51 countries and 12 organizations, this year.
Making the keynote address State Minister Wijewardene said that maritime stakeholders must focus their attention on a greater maritime visibility for enhanced maritime security cooperation with friendly nations. The maritime domain and its affairs today have become one of the crucial factors that have the ability to decide and influence the present as well as future affairs to a greater extent, he added.
Sri Lanka's strategic location in the Indo-Asia Pacific region is fast becoming the center of gravity in world affairs. Fortified with the advantage of this unique position in the Indian Ocean, we are looking at the future with great expectations to regain our maritime glory in the Indian Ocean by mainly promoting trade and tourism, he noted.
Further speaking the State Minister said, the principal conditions affecting the Sea Power of nations are primarily their geographical position, their size and extent of coastline; the quantity of their sea-borne trade and the threat to it; maritime ambitions of their neighbors; and finally the number and determination of their population and the understanding and resolve of their leaders and government.
As no nation is capable of addressing challenges and threats in the maritime domain in isolation, we too seek cooperation and assistance from all nations to ensure that the Indian Ocean is kept free from all threats and challenges, he stressed.
'Galle Dialogue', was first held in 2010 with the participation of a number of international and local professionals representing the maritime fraternity. This conference is scheduled to end today (10th Oct.)