Two-day Galle Dialogue gets underway



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By Shamindra Ferdinando


The presence of a high level Australian delegation at the two-day Galle Dialogue 2014 beginning today (Dec 1) highlights close cooperation between Australia and Sri Lanka to stop illegal migration.


The fifth edition of the annual event being held at Lighthouse Hotel, Galle has attracted 39 countries including Australia. Australian Navy Commander Border Protection, Rear Admiral Michael Noonan will present a paper on ‘collective approach for economic benefits: Threats and future cooperation’ today.


Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie is also scheduled to attend the inauguration. Australian Defence Minister David Johnston has informed the GoSL of his inability to attend, though he was earlier scheduled to deliver a speech at the conclusion of the programme on day 1.


The GoSL recently reiterated its commitment to Australian efforts to deter illegal immigrants by accepting another boat load of Sri Lankans intercepted northwest of the Cocos Islands nearly three weeks ago as it made its way to Australia.


The joint Australia-Sri Lanka project was meant to discourage people from trying the perilous boat journey, a senior security official told The Island, adding that they were determined to enhance cooperation further. According to the official, the Australian led operation involved several other countries in the region.


The keynote address will be delivered by National Security Advisor of India Dr. Ajith Kumar Doval following welcome remarks by Sri Lankan Navy Chief Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera. Deputy Chief of Staff of PLA Navy Rear Admiral Zhang Jianchang will present a paper on ‘Building Cooperation and Collaboration to achieve common maritime goals’ also on the first day.


The Galle Dialogue takes place in the wake of controversy over Chinese vessels, including submarines using the port of Colombo. Both China and Sri Lanka denied Indian and some local media reports of Colombo port accommodating Chinese nuclear submarines.


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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