India, Sri Lanka, Maldives frame maritime security pact
At the conclusion of a meeting on ‘Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security’ held in Colombo on Monday, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives have entered into a maritime security pact to ensure tripartite co-operation in sea routes in the region. The agreement was signed by Shivshanker Menon, National Security Advisor of India, Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Maldives’ Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim. Concurrently, reports also say that Mr. Menon was in the island with a six-member delegation to plead with the Rajapaksa government to provide devolution to the Tamils on the basis of the 13th Amendment, which has been rejected time and again by the Eezham Tamil people, “for early political settlement and national reconciliation.”
A Press Release by the Indian High Commission in Colombo said that the governments of India, Sri Lanka and Maldives “signed an Outcome Document outlining further collaborative measures in the areas of inter alia Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA); strengthening coordination of maritime Search and Rescue (SAR); promoting marine oil pollution response cooperation; expanding ‘DOSTI’ (friendship) exercises; sharing of information on illegal maritime activities; and piracy.”
One of the proposed actions of the Outcome Document was “strengthening maritime linkages in the field of Search and Rescue (SAR) including through SAR operations, providing expertise and technical assistance by India in setting up Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) in Sri Lanka and Maldives, coordination in relaying and receiving distress alerts and safety messages, and, conduct of SAR training in India.”
Tamil Nadu state government, influential political activists and public have several times in the past expressed deep disapproval of military co-operation between India and genocidal Sri Lanka.