Date: 16 December 2017
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‘SL can serve as fulcrum of modern Indian Ocean region’

Posted on 28 Jun 2017

Given the shift in global power to the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka’s geostrategic location places it in a unique position to serve as the fulcrum of a modern Indian Ocean region, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake.

Speaking at the IOMAC-ONS Certificate Course Awards Ceremony in Integrated Marine Affairs Management at the BMICH, he said that in a modern context, one of the most important sea lanes of communication runs just South of Dondra Head where close to 200 ships traverse daily.

“These ships take energy supplies to countries in East Asia and beyond,” the Minister said.

“Sri Lanka can exploit its location to gain significant economic benefits while simultaneously shouldering the responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of the vessels passing so close to its shore,” he said.

“Being an island nation the Ocean that surrounds us can be both a source of strength or weakness, depending on our ability to effectively exploit its geostrategic potential.”

“The sea is a strategic part of the country’s security. Maritime security is of critical importance for the protection of our resources and keeping the country safe from external threats. Our waters are expected to contribute significantly to economic growth in time to come. This necessitates the balancing of competing interests in order to conserve our waters and protect the sea as a long-term resource,” Minister Karunanayake said.

“Whilst fortune has favoured Sri Lanka with a unique geographic location, it remains in our hands to identify and develop our strategic potential and value. I believe the development of our strategic potential is intrinsically linked to the Indian Ocean and Sri Lanka is well placed to play a central role in Indian Ocean Affairs in the future”.

“I believe this well captures the centrality of Ocean Affairs to Sri Lanka. Our very survival will depend on safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans.”