"Galle Dialogue 2014" concludes pledging support for Cooperation & Collaboration to achieve Maritime Prosperity

The international maritime conference, “Galle Dialogue 2014”, organized by the Sri Lanka Navy under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, concluded on 02nd December 2014 pledging support for cooperation and collaboration to achieve maritime prosperity. One hundred and seven foreign delegates from 36 countries and 160 local counterparts participated in the two days of discussions which paved the way for exchange of ideas, better understanding and fostering of friendship. The "Galle Dialogue" has made its own unique contribution to the international discourse and gathered momentum as a venture with the potential to deliver substantial outcomes and strengthen co-operation among participating nations in the area of maritime security.

The following papers were presented at the conference:

• “Building Cooperation and Collaboration to Achieve Common Maritime Goals” by Rear Admiral Zhang Jianchang, Deputy Chief of Staff, PLA Navy
• “Harnessing a Global Strategy for an Alternative Maritime Security Response” by Professor Robert K. Boggs, National Defense University, Near East South
Asia Center for Strategic Studies, USA
• “Collaborative Approach for Economic Benefits: Threats and Future Concerns” by Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, Commander Boarder Protection,
Australian Navy
• “How to Develop Maritime Partnerships” by Rear Admiral Ben Bekkering, Deputy Commander of the Netherlands Navy
• “Regional and Global Responses to Maritime Disasters: Challenges and Way Forward” by Rear Admiral Dato' Pahlawan Mior Rosdi bin Dato' Mior Jaafar,
Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations & Exercises), Malaysian Navy
• “Continental Shelf Claims before the United Nations” by Prof. Larry Awosika, Chairman, Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS)
United Nations, New York
• “Sri Lanka and the Law of the Sea at 20” by Dr. Christopher Walter Pinto, Former Member of the United Nations International Law Commission and Secretary
General of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, The Netherlands
• “Achieving Comprehensive Maritime Security Environment: Pakistan Perspective” by Vice Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Commander Pakistan Fleet (COMPAK),
Pakistan Navy
• “Maritime Environment and Global Economic Expansion: Strategy to Overcome Security Challenges in the Maritime Sphere” by Rear Admiral Bubele Ktitie Mhlana
Flag Officer Fleet, South African Navy
• “Maritime Crime in the Indian Ocean Region” by Mr. Alan Cole, Head of the Global Maritime Crime Programme, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
• “Significance of Maritime Governance and Ocean Management in Realising Maritime Economic Benefits” by Rear Admiral Riazuddin Ahmed, Assistant Chief of
Naval Staff (Material), Bangladesh Navy
• “JMSDF’s Role in the Indian Ocean” by Captain Shigetoshi Hirayama, Head of the National Security and & Strategic Studies Office, JMSDF
• “New Strategies Facing Security Challenges in the Indian Ocean” by Rear Admiral Peyman Jafari Tehrani, Chief of Staff, Iran Navy

The concluding remarks were made by His Excellency the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia and former Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Admiral (retd) Thisara Samarasinghe. Admiral Samarasinghe in his speech stated that he was immensely honoured and privileged to attend the Galle Dialogue 2014 and deliver the concluding remarks. He expressed his delight at the Galle Dialogue's theme of regional stability now navigating towards global stability, taking all stakeholders onboard. He summed up the proceedings of the two-day discussions, drawing attention to the salient points on the papers delivered and the speeches made. Sharing his expertise in maritime affairs and naval diplomacy, he emphasized that no effort will succeed without stability. Sri Lanka after long years has now achieved stability and this stability, which is being challenged in many ways, has to be safeguarded at all costs, he emphasized. He also observed that the Sri Lanka Navy is very futuristic and invested in acquiring capabilities to ensure this stability, much desired by all. SLN has first-hand experience in battling threats at sea and possess a lot of knowledge and expertise to share with others in this respect, the Admiral noted. He entreated all to focus on what needs to be done rather than what wants to be done. That, he opined, will ensure safety of the sea lanes and help maintain much needed food and energy security, which can be propagated through the means of naval and economic diplomacy. In conclusion, Admiral Samarasinghe expressed his gratitude to the Secretary of Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the visionary guidence and the leadership given to the Galle Diaogue initiative and thanked the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and his able team for a job well done.

The Head of the Steering Committee of the Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference, Rear Admiral Neil Rosayro of the Sri Lanka Navy proposed the Vote of Thanks. He stated that the Sri Lanka Navy is extremely delighted to see that the two days of discussions on the theme, ‘Cooperation and Collaboration for Maritime Prosperity’, was a thought provoking process and has yielded results that benefitted all the participants. He conveyed SLN's highest appreciation and gratitude to the National Security Advisor of India Dr. Ajit Kumar Doval for delivering the keynote speech which laid the keel for this year’s Galle Dialogue. He thanked the Minister of External Affairs Hon. Professor G.L. Peiris for delivering a thought provoking speech, outlining the way forward to reap benefits from a Blue Economy, with reference to global trend setters. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to the Secretary to His Excellency the President Mr. Lalith Weerathunga for his gracious presence and delivering the Dinner Speech at the banquet held on the evening of Day One.

Paying tribute to the visionary guidance of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has been instrumental in conceptualizing and shaping the course of the Galle Dialogue since its inception, Rear Admiral Rosayro expressed his gratitude to him for the support, guidance and close supervision of the proceedings. He also thanked the professional panel of moderators, who played a key role in moderating the sessions successfully. He thanked all the presenters for a job well done, presenting the thought provoking papers on a wide range of topics which helped the august gathering to continue the fruitful discussions. He also thanked all the participants for their gracious presence and exchange of valuable ideas, acknowledging the importance of the annual maritime conference. On behalf of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, he thanked all the members of the Galle Dialogue Organizing Committees and the Commander Southern Naval Area and his staff for working tirelessly to make the mega event a success.