The international maritime conference, “Galle Dialogue 2013”, organized by the Sri Lanka Navy under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, concluded on 26th November 2013 pledging support for collaboration and cooperation for the collective prosperity.
Eighty-six foreign delegates from 35 countries and 90 local counterparts participated in the two-day dialogue, which provided a unique opportunity to discuss a wide spectrum of perspectives, opinions and views, which are as sprawling as the ocean.
The following papers were presented at the conference:
– “Emerging Maritime Interests in Asia Pacific: An Indian Perspective” by Admiral DK Joshi, the Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy
– “Importance of Building Trust and Confidence to enhance Regional Maritime Security” by Rear Admiral Guan Jianguo, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy
– “Potential Factors that could destabilize Freedom of the Seas” by Rear Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Operations) of the Pakistan Navy
– “How Cooperation could mitigate People Smuggling Activities in the Indian Ocean” by Rear Admiral Timothy Barrett, the Commander Australian Fleet of the Royal Australian Navy
– “Economic and Strategic Realities in the Indian Ocean” by Ms. Nilanthi Samaranayake, Analyst, Center for Naval Analyses, Center for Strategic Studies, USA
– “The Iranian Perspective on Regional Maritime Security” by Captain Neghi por Nazary, Iran Navy
– “Onboard Security: The Threat, Best Practices and Trends in the Industry” by Major Nissanka Senadhipathi, the Chairman, Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd.
– “Marine Environment Protection Concerns and Remedies” by Brigadier General Ahmed Shahid, the Commandant of the Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard
– “The Indian Ocean- Future Threats & Concerns” by Rear Admiral SS Ranasinghe the Commander Western Naval Area of the Sri Lanka Navy.
There was also a colourful cultural programme depicting the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka as well as a guest performance presented by Vietnamese artistes and a folk dance by Russian dancers on the first day evening. The audience was delighted by the creative “Pooja” dance presented by the Channa-Upulee dance troupe and the fusion of traditional and masks dances which were complemented by a heart rendering cello solo and an enthralling drum fusion that held the spectators spell-bound.
The two-day dialogue came into conclusion with a panel discussion on “Emerging Maritime Trends and their Impact on Nations” presided over by four eminent panelists, Admiral (Retd.) Sureesh Mehta (India), Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage (Sri Lanka), Professor Rohan Gunaratne (Sri Lanka) and Dr. Sam Bateman (Australia).
Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage making the concluding remarks stated that the intellectual, academic and operational discussions that took place during the Galle Dialogue 2013 emphasized the need for collaboration and cooperation for the common good. The theme this year, he went on to add, aptly demonstrated that the dialogue should not confine itself to maritime security matters alone but to broader issues concerning the maritime domain as well. Sri Lanka had played host even in the past when the traders of yore used the two monsoons to travel across the Indian Ocean. As such, Galle Dialogue held in the southern port city is a meeting of minds, he noted.
Proposing the vote of thanks, the Commander of the Navy paid glowing tribute to Secretary of Defence & Urban Development, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on whom the total success of the Galle Dialogue depends, being the architect and visionary of the whole initiative, providing the guidance, the strength as well as invaluable inputs at various stages of its implementation. He thanked Minister of External Affairs Hon. Prof GL Peiris, the Secretary to His Excellency the President, the Governor and the Chief Minister of the Southern Province, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, members of the diplomatic community and Defence Attachés for their contribution to the event a great success. He also thanked the participants across the oceans and the invitees both local and foreign for their gracious presence and valuable contributions. He also expressed his gratitude to the moderators for a job well done and the presenters for their highly academic and thought provoking papers. He conveyed his heart-felt gratitude to the Steering Committee led by Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy, Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera for the tireless work and to the Commander Southern Naval Area for his and his staff’s untiring efforts that saw the successful completion of the two-day mega event. The Navy Commander also conveyed a big word of thanks to the main sponsor, the Avant Garde Maritime Services, for their generosity.
Press Release, November 27, 2013; Image: Sri Lanka Navy