COLOMBO, Oct. 14 (NsNewsWire) — Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for the establishment of a rule-based maritime order in the Indian Ocean before “geopolitical power interplays in the region to convert the Indian Ocean into a center of tension,” local media reports said Friday, reports Xinhua.
Delivering the keynote address at the Indian Ocean: Defining Our Future Conference held in capital Colombo, Wickremesinghe said countries needed to take advantage of the “benign strategic atmosphere that exists to create a maritime order in the Indian Ocean that can withstand the challenges that may emerge in the future.”
This could create a more “manageable future,” he added.
The region, which has the involvement of regional powers, littoral states, major maritime users of the Indian Ocean and non-state actors, provided a hotbed for conflicts which could also extend to the sub-surface waters and the air space, Wickremesinghe said.
The prime minister also asked the Global Maritime Crime Program of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to help the Sri Lankan government to set up an “International Center of Excellence on the Safety of Undersea Cables” in Colombo.
He further invited all countries present at the conference to send an expert to “augment the intellectual and technical capacity of the center.”
Officials from countries including China, India and the U.S. participated in the two-day Indian Ocean Conference which ended Friday, aimed at exploring the region’s strongest challenges and opportunities.
The conference is expected to lead to a multilateral diplomatic conference to be held early next year in Sri Lanka. Enditem