Sri Lanka’s delegation, led by Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Hon. Nimal Siripala De Silva, and State Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Tharaka Balasuriya, actively participated in the 6th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 12 to 13 May. The conference, inaugurated by Prime Minister of Bangladesh H. E. Sheikh Hasina, brought together representatives from 25 participating countries to discuss the theme of “peace, prosperity, and partnership for a resilient future.” The Minister emphasized the country’s commitment to regional cooperation, peace, security, and inclusive economic development during the event.
Promoting Regionalism and Cooperation: Minister Hon. Nimal Siripala De Silva, delivering Sri Lanka’s statement at the special thematic sessions on 13 May, underlined the country’s active engagement in the Indian Ocean region. He emphasized the importance of fostering closer cooperation and linkages between ASEAN, IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association), and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation). Minister stressed the need for enhanced regionalism that focuses on augmenting cooperation among maritime domain stakeholders, aiming to strengthen peace, security, and economic development in the region.
Partnerships and Economic Initiatives: Sri Lanka’s delegation expressed its commitment to strengthening partnerships and engagement with littoral states in the Indian Ocean region. Minister highlighted the significance of fostering trade and economic activities in the Indian Ocean, including blue-green economic initiatives. By emphasizing the importance of addressing climate change concerns, Sri Lanka aims to promote sustainable development and the preservation of the region’s unique marine ecosystem. The country’s engagement in the conference demonstrates its proactive stance toward fostering mutually beneficial partnerships and enhancing economic cooperation within the Indian Ocean region.
Charting the Roadmap for the Indian Ocean Region: The IOC serves as a platform for regional states and principal maritime partners to discuss and deliberate upon prospects for security and growth in the Indian Ocean region. With the theme of “peace, prosperity, and partnership for a resilient future,” the conference aimed to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among key stakeholders. The presence of around 250 foreign representatives, high-level government delegations, and dignitaries from participating countries further solidified the importance of this gathering.
Sri Lanka’s active participation in the 6th Indian Ocean Conference, led by Minister Hon. Nimal Siripala De Silva, showcased the country’s commitment to peace, security, and inclusive economic development in the region. By highlighting the significance of regional cooperation, Sri Lanka underscored the need for enhanced engagement among maritime stakeholders and the establishment of closer linkages between ASEAN, IORA, and BIMSTEC. Through its engagement in the IOC, Sri Lanka aims to strengthen partnerships, foster trade, and promote sustainable economic initiatives, contributing to a resilient and prosperous future for the Indian Ocean region.