India, Sri Lanka, Maldives agree to improve intel sharing

29 Novembre, 2020, 07:42 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • National Security Adviser Ajit Doval | File

India, Sri Lanka and Maldives on Saturday reviewed the current maritime security environment in the region, exchanged views on common security threats and agreed to expand the scope of cooperation to include issues such intelligence sharing and terrorism.

Doval arrived in Colombo today for trilateral discussions among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

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In a shift from the past, the National Security Advisors of India, Sri Lanka and Maldives decided - after their in-person trilateral meeting in Colombo - to broad-base the maritime security dialogue and include "terrorism", "radicalisation", "extremism", "drugs", "arms and human trafficking", "money laundering" and "cybersecurity" as they made a decision to cooperate in these areas of common concern.

On Thursday, the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi said the NSA-level trilateral meeting had served as an effective platform for cooperation among Indian Ocean countries.

The mechanism is being revived after six years as earlier meetings were held in 2011 in the Maldives, in 2013 in Sri Lanka, and in 2014 in India.

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During the meeting, the three leaders formalised the discussions by signing the minutes.

This is the first time that NSA Ajit Doval participated in the trilateral dialogue as the group has not met since March 2014. It also tweeted pictures of the three participants. "China's role, while certainly not the only factor, is a significant factor in India's renewed push within the neighborhood and in the Indian Ocean region". They agreed to further strengthen cooperation in dealing with these challenges, to ensure peace and security in the region for common benefit.

"Mauritius and Seychelles were represented virtually at Senior Officials" level.

India has found it hard to match Chinese investments in infrastructure and security in smaller South Asian nations over the last decade, but its own policies have also added to the frayed ties with its neighbors, according to Aman Thakker, adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Shapiro scholar at the University of Oxford. They also chose to hold Deputy NSA level working group meetings biannually for cooperation at operational level, according to the statement.

Mr. Doval also held bilateral discussions with Ms. Didi and with Sri Lankan officials.

This would be Ajit Doval's second official visit to Sri Lanka this year. "India, Maldives and SL recognise their role and responsibility in keeping the region safe & secure", a tweet by Indian High Commission in Maldives said. In January, he visited the island nation and discussed a range of bilateral issues, including strengthening cooperation in defence, intelligence sharing and maritime security with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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