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Colombo Security Conclave : Cooperative Architecture in the Indian Ocean

Colombo Security Conclave has emerged as a cooperative security mechanism in the immediate periphery of the Indian Sub Continent bringing maritime forces in the region on a single platform. The objective is to cooperate on security of the global commons in this zone with focus on non traditional security threats such as terrorism, maritime security and crime, trafficking, cyber security and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

The Conclave presently comprises of Maldives, India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. Bangladesh and Seychelles are observers.

Delegations of the founding members of Colombo Security Conclave; Maldives, India and Sri Lanka, and the newest member of the Conclave, Mauritius, successfully concluded the 5th National Security Adviser level meeting held on 09 – 10 March 2022 in Maldives as per a Press Release of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Delegations from Bangladesh and Seychelles participated as Observers.

Mariya Ahmed Didi, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Maldives; Mr. Ajit Doval, KC, National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of Republic of India; General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd.), Secretary to the Ministry of Defence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; and Mr. Kumaresan Ilango, National Security Adviser to the Republic of Mauritius, identified key areas of cooperation to enhance and strengthen regional security in the following five pillars:

· Maritime Safety and Security

· Countering Terrorism and Radicalisation

· Combating Trafficking and Transnational Organised Crime

· Cyber Security, Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Technology

· Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

The Member states agreed upon a roadmap for further cooperation and collaboration on these pillars of cooperation. The roadmap will facilitate robust mechanisms for coordinated responses capacity building and strengthening information flow between member states.

Delegation from Bangladesh was led by H.E. Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Defence and Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Seychelles was represented by H.E. Simon Archange Dine, Chief of Staff of Seychelles Defence Forces.

As maritime neighbors, facing similar threats, the Conclave reaffirmed their commitment to engage in consistent joint efforts to achieving regional peace and security said the Ministry of External Affairs Press release.

The five point agenda has been activated in some respects.

The maiden ‘Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) Focused Operation’ was conducted between the lead Maritime Security Agencies of India, Maldives and Sri Lanka on 27 and 28 November 2021. Ships and aircraft of Indian Navy (IN), Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) participated and operated over a vast area in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the three countries in Southern Arabian Sea.

A trilateral Table Top Exercise (TTX) between IN, MNDF and SLN was conducted on 14 and 15 July 2021.

Earlier three countries had participated in the 5th Deputy National Security Advisors (NSA) – level meeting of Colombo Security Conclave on 04 August 2021, wherein ways of enhancing maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region were deliberated upon.

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