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Secretary Defence Speaking at Xiangshan Forum Beijing, China 26th October 2018

".... Sri Lanka aspires to a maritime order with adherence to rules based governance which has to be promoted by regional organizations in the Indian Ocean Region. The inclusivity of Indian Ocean States will be best achieved through confidence building and maintaining momentum through multilateral engagement. It’s time to work on already established initiatives and measures at a regional level and make Indian Ocean a secure region. The geopolitical and geo-economic significance of the Indian Ocean has vested within us collective responsibilities to maintain the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace.

Reflecting on our long relationship with China, we have always cordially cooperated with each other. Recalling our history of the two nations, China’s maritime missions in 1405, when the greatest Chinese navigator Admiral Zheng He visited Sri Lanka before Portuguese, Dutch and British who colonies our Island. Since then, China- Sri Lanka relations have been cordial. Our relations further strengthened with signing the Rubber- Rice Pact. In this year, four Chinese Naval ships came down to Sri Lanka and we are grateful for the navy frigate gifted to us by China. It is with pleasure I would like to say that, in the past two years, the two militaries deepened communication and cooperation in the areas of personnel training, joint training and maritime security.

Sri Lanka is becoming an active member in multilateral forums of defence and security in Asia. Sri Lanka is a full member of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in August 2018, from its observer state in 2012. All these successful efforts imply Sri Lanka’s vision in cooperation to ensure a better and peaceful future not only for Sri Lanka but also for the whole region’s maritime security.....”