WELCOME REMARKS BY THE COMMANDER OF THE NAVY GALLE DIALOGUE 2015

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1 1 WELCOME REMARKS BY THE COMMANDER OF THE NAVY GALLE DIALOGUE 2015 Honorable Prime Minister, Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, A very good morning to all of you. Let me extend a very warm welcome to all of you who are present here today to participate in the sixth international maritime conference, Galle Dialogue I have great honour in welcoming the Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Honorable Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Chief Guest of Galle Dialogue I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to all the Honorable Ministers, Governor Southern province, Chief Minister Southern Province, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Let me also extend a very warm welcome to all the Ambassadors and High Commissioners who are present with us today. All the Secretaries to various ministries, former Navy Commanders, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army, Commander of the Air Force, and Additional Secretaries to Ministries are also welcomed with great appreciation. I would also like to warmly welcome the Chief of Navies from Bangladesh, India, Mozambique and Nigeria; delegation heads, intellectuals, maritime experts, and representatives from a number of key international organizations who are here with us today.

2 Today we have over 110 delegates representing 36 countries and 10 International Organizations in this forum. This event has gathered momentum over the last five years in terms of its participation. The international recognition to this annual event has come from the foreign participants. We have been able to successfully conduct this international maritime conference for six consecutive years with the guidance and assistance from the Ministry of Defence. Like many other similar initiatives in the region, the Galle Dialogue has contributed immensely in discussing some of the key issues in the maritime sphere. Let me highlight few historical facts about Galle for the benefit of our foreign participants. Galle is known as a famous ancient port city and was famed as a watering point for the sailing ships in the ancient time. Sailing ships used to take sufficient fresh water before crossing the Bay of Bengal to Malacca. So, almost all the sailing ships, sailing from the West to East used to anchor off Galle. The Famous Roomassala Forest reserve has three wells with best spring water at the foot of the forest named as the watering point in ancient sea charts. Even Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb s ship carrying silver coins to China and Japan which sank at Great Basses reef in 1701 has taken fresh water from Galle. Specific instructions given by the ancient kings to the water suppliers were Do not charge foreign ships for water! So even during the ancient time we have been very kind to seafarers like today. The maritime archeological value of Galle is immense. The Dutch occupied Galle for over 150 years (from 1640 to 1796) and had monopoly of Cinnamon trade to Europe. There are 17 wrecks of Dutch East Indies Company ships in and around Galle harbor. This gives a rough idea about the maritime trade that took place in this area during the ancient times. 2

3 The Indian Ocean has taken a center stage of discussions pertaining to regional as well as global maritime affairs. Most of us here are connected to this great ocean mass in one way or the other. Famous sayings by great maritime strategists have highlighted how influential the Indian Ocean can be in deciding the future. This ocean mass has turned into the center of gravity and there are enough reasons to prove that. Heavy dependency on the maritime space for our needs and wants has in turn made the maritime space a competing ground for resources. We also know that the cheapest way of transportation is by sea. With the increasing competition for resources comes an increased tension between countries. On the other hand, the vastness of the ocean and inability to place hundred percent maritime surveillance and governance in each and every square inch of the ocean have motivated non-state actors to exploit this very nature of the ocean for illegal activities. Energy and trade flow that takes place across the Indian Ocean has presented us with a complex strategic maritime environment. Maritime security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional have become extremely complex and interwoven. This has presented the governments with a huge challenge. One can have the best technology, most advanced maritime surveillance capabilities and a highly developed Navy, but it will be a daunting task to address these emerging threats and challenges all alone. The Sri Lankan experience in defeating terrorism and countering human smuggling provides ample examples to prove the importance of close cooperation and coordination in overcoming challenges of unprecedented magnitude. 3

4 With reference to the present maritime security situation around our country, we can very clearly say that we do not have a visible enemy out at sea now. But that does not mean our seas are safe and secure. We DO have a quite a number of challenges in our maritime domain. To address them effectively we need the assistance of our regional partners. If I take the Search and Rescue region of Sri Lanka, it s a vast area for a country like Sri Lanka to respond. It is almost 27 times of our land area and our SAR area borders with India, Maldives, Indonesia, and Australia. Looking at our resources and the vast SAR area, it is evident that we need assistance from our regional partners. And I must mention herewith gratitude, that they have helped us in many ways. As we all are aware, maritime trade has become the life line of the world today. The strategic positioning of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean has vested us with a huge responsibility in protecting the ships that frequent our waters to East and West and West to East. Over 200 ships on average navigate South of Sri Lanka daily. We have also become a major transshipment hub in the region. Almost 100 percent containers that go to USA from this region are transshipped via Colombo harbor mainly due to Megaports Initiative that is in place after 9/11. The Deep water Colombo South harbor which is capable of handling Triple-E ships is also located adjacent to the International shipping route. The recent Paris terrorist attacks remind us why we must come together in finding lasting solutions to security threats and challenges. We have seen in the past how terrorist groups have used the maritime space to carry out attacks on land. 4

5 When the law enforcement efforts on land are tighten, the terrorist are left with one easy option of using the maritime space. They take advantage of its vastness and lack of policing and governance in certain areas. We must not allow terrorism on land to spill into the oceans. Now we all know terrorists also move to Europe with illegal migration flow by sea. In 2004, ten years and 11 months ago, the famous Boxing Day Tsunami struck our shores and devastated the Southern coast. It was the Indian Navy who first came to assist us. I acknowledge with much gratitude the assistance given by the then Indian Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Arun Prakash, who is also here with us today. Sir, your action that day saved thousands of lives in Galle. The recently concluded SLINEX naval exercise between the Indian and the Sri Lanka Navy is one example that I can share with you to highlight the importance of establishing a strong cooperation among us. Such efforts will go a long way and will be of immense value when dealing with future affairs. As most of these threats and challenges we face out at sea are asymmetric in nature, we need to respond through asymmetric tactics. The small boat concept which we effectively employed can be used in addressing most of these asymmetric threats out at sea. We are more than happy to share our experience with others. Understanding the above aspects, we see many nations working closely with regional and global entities in finding lasting solutions to some of the most pressing challenges that are maritime centric. Therefore, close coordination and cooperation among countries are essential in ensuring the freedom of seas and free flow of trade as per accepted International Laws and Norms. 5

6 Obviously we need to share the burden in finding solutions to a range of challenges in front of us, and the best way we could move forward is through a whole of government approach by engaging in economic, diplomatic, and military activities with the active participation of all stake holders. It is in this context that this year s Galle Dialogue theme Secure Seas through Greater Maritime Cooperation - Challenges and Way Forward has been conceptualized. As we have with us a very professional body of experts from around the world representing our friendly navies, think tanks, other leading international organizations, I am confident that we will be able to have a very fruitful discussion, exchanges of ideas and even constructive arguments to benefit our theme. Let me end my opening remarks by quoting a famous saying by Benjamin Franklin which highlights the importance of working together, I quote, If we do not hang together, we will all hang separately..., I unquote. I wish all of you a wonderful stay here in the historic port city of Galle and a very productive two days of deliberations on this year s theme. Thank You 6

7 Vice Admiral Ravindra C Wijegunaratne WV, RWP & Bar, RSP, VSV, USP, ndc, psn Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy 1

8 2

9

10 New Galle Harbor Black Fort Galle Fort Watering Point Rumassala Rain Forest 4

11 5

12 Galle: Rich in Maritime Archeological Value. 6

13 Indian Ocean: A key factor in deciding our future 7

14 Whoever controls the Indian Ocean controls Asia. The Indian Ocean is the gateway to the world s seven seas. The destiny of the world in the 21st century will be determined by the Indian Ocean It is here that the fight for democracy, energy independence, and religious freedom will be lost or won,.american foreign policy must concentrate if the US is to remain relevant in an everchanging world 8

15 Heavy dependency for our needs 9

16 Vastness of the ocean space hinders surveillance. 10

17 Global Energy and Trade Flow 11

18 Sri Lanka Navy s Experience in Curbing Maritime Terrorism and Human Smuggling 12

19 SEARCH AND RESCUE REGION (SRR) 27 TIMES OF LAND AREA 13

20 Shipping Density South of Sri Lanka 14

21 Emerging Transshipment Hub 15

22 Paris Terrorist Attack 16

23 We must not allow terrorism on land spill into ocean. 17

24 tsunami 18

25 SLINEX

26 Small arrow boat video 20

27 Coordination and Cooperation a Must. 21

28 Our Way Forward... Through a whole of government approach by engaging in economic, diplomatic, and military activities. 22

29 GD theme 23

30 If we do not hang together, we will all hang separately 24

31 Thank You! 25

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