The Indian Ocean Region's Senior Drug Enforcement Officials' Meeting which was jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ministry of Defence got underway at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo on 13th October 2015. His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena, who spearheads the national efforts in eradicating the drug menace in Sri Lanka, graced the inaugural session as a special guest.
The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne making a comprehensive presentation on 'Maritime Drug Trafficking: Finding a Lasting Solution' discussed the importance of paying serious attention to eradicating maritime drug trafficking by taking into consideration the challenges and new trends in our maritime space. He also stressed the importance of paying attention to education and awareness, monitoring the maritime domain, sharing real time intelligence and cooperation and coordination in order to finding a lasting solution to the drug trafficking issue.
High ranking delegates representing 21 countries and 07 organizations are in attendance with the view to enhance regional cooperation among drug enforcement agencies to counter drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean. The delegates are also scheduled to attend a briefing on boarding and searching techniques followed by boarding and searching demonstration by the Sri Lanka Navy at the premises of SLNS Rangalla in Colombo on the final day of the meeting.
Minister of Justice and Buddasasana Hon. Wijedasa Rajapakshe,State Minister of Defence Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Harsha De Silva, Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Kolitha Goonetilleke, Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Crishantha De Silva, Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala, senior officials of the Ministry of Defence, senior officers of the Sri Lanka Navy and large gathering of Distinguished Invitees were present at the occasion.
Full Speech of the Commander of the Navy