“Galle Dialogue 2015” concludes pledging support for greater maritime cooperation for secure seas

The international maritime conference, “Galle Dialogue 2015”, organized by the Sri Lanka Navy under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, concluded on 24th November 2015 pledging support for greater maritime cooperation for secure seas. One hundred and nine foreign delegates from 36 countries and 107 local counterparts participated in the two days of discussions, seeking solutions to common maritime challenges through collaborative efforts and building mutual trust. The SLN's flagship event, "Galle Dialogue" aims at strengthening the regional maritime cooperation and formulating a global strategy to face common challenges in the maritime domain. This collaborative effort has grown in stature over successive years and has earned global acclaim due to its contribution to maritime security cooperation.

The following papers were presented at the conference held for the sixth consecutive year:

  • “Significance of Developing Mutually Beneficial Architectures and Partnerships for Maritime Security” by Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy.
  • “Importance of a Collective Approach to Maritime Security and Mutual Prosperity” by Rear Admiral Gu Xiangbing, PLA Navy.
  • “US Perspective on Developing Cooperative Strategies for Maritime Security” by Rear Admiral Charles Williams, US Navy.
  • “Mitigating Challenges to Maritime Security through Proactive Collaboration” by Captain Naoya Hoshi, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force.
  • “Challenges and Opportunities for an Inclusive and Transparent Security Structure for the Indian Ocean” by Rear Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, Pakistan Navy.
  • “Challenges in Developing Mutually Beneficial Agreements in Handling Irregular Migrants” by Commodore Peter Laver, Chief of Staff Navy Strategic Command, Australian Navy.
  • “Necessity of Creating an Inclusive Mechanism to Ensure Safety and Rights of Refugees and Asylum-seekers” by Mr. Olivier Madjora, UNHCR.
  • “Cooperation and Burden Sharing towards Dismantling Smuggling and Trafficking Networks” by Admiral Graivut Vattanatham, Assistant Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy.
  • “Necessity of Developing Joint Frameworks for Comprehensive Migration Management” by Mr. Giuseppe Crocetti, IOM.
  • “Secure Seas through Greater Maritime Cooperation: the Combined Maritime Forces Approach to Security Challenges in the Middle East and Indian Ocean" by Commodore Will Warrender, RN, Combined Maritime Forces.
  • “Over view of United States Naval Criminal Investigating Service and the Benefits that can gained by other Navies / Organizations from similar Departments like the US Naval Criminal Investigating Service” by Mr. Michael. A. McLean, Jr., Special Agent, United States Naval Criminal Investigating Service.
  • “A Collaborative Approach to Countering Drug Trafficking and Criminal Networks in the maritime Domain” by Mr. Alan Cole, UNODC.
  • “Economic Realities and the Emerging Maritime Security Partnership in the Asia Pacific Region” by Dr. Christian Bueger, Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Relations, Cardiff University, UK.

The concluding remarks were made by the former Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Admiral (Retd) Jayanath Colombage. He summed up the proceedings of the two-day discussions, drawing attention to the salient points on the papers delivered and the speeches made and commended the present Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne for raising the academic level of the Galle Dialogue to a new level. Sharing his expertise in maritime affairs, he noted that the Indian Ocean today has emerged as a key ocean in the 21st century as an energy super highway. It has seen a substantial increase in the heavy trade due to the developing economies in the Asia Pacific, and along with that, the nontraditional security threats have also increased. This has made the Indian Ocean a complex strategic maritime security environment along with the Pacific Ocean. In such a context, he emphasized the need for greater cooperation and partnerships to ensure the freedom of the SLOCs and burden sharing by all partners and stakeholders. He also cautioned about the possible battle for supremacy and a 'Maritime Cold War' developing in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, which require our collective attention.

Concluding his remarks, Admiral Colombage stated that he is very much pleased to note the Galle Dialogue achieving its objectives in keeping with its concept and requested to carry on the discourse further to enable a comprehensive approach to ensure maritime security. Opining that the future of our world lies in the ocean and the Blue Economy, he emphasized the need for its protection, good governance and prudent management. What is required is a paradigm shift made possible by a long-term vision, new thinking and new mechanisms, concluded the Admiral.

The Head of the Steering Committee of the Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference, Rear Admiral Dharmendra Wettewa of the Sri Lanka Navy proposed the Vote of Thanks. He stated that the Sri Lanka Navy's annual Galle Dialogue conference has paved the way for discussions and analysis that would ultimately aid in promoting structures for maritime security. He stressed the point that this conference has become a crucial event in the SLN calendar every year and hence SLN is firmly committed to continue same. He conveyed SLN's highest appreciation and gratitude to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for delivering the keynote speech which set the stage for the deliberations, adding depth to the content and enhancing the stature of the conference. He also thanked the State Minister of Defence, Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene for delivering the Dinner Speech at the official reception held on the evening of Day One.

Expressing deep appreciation for the cooperation and encouragement extended by many countries, institutions, organizations and individuals for the mega event, Rear Admiral Wettewa stated that it showed their desire and commitment to collaborate in ensuring safer seas for all. He also thanked the senior officers and professionals for their contributions for the successful conduct of the proceedings and for moderating each session. He thanked all the presenters for taking time to share their research and findings, providing many insights into a number of pressing issues which need immediate attention. He also thanked all the participants whose views, concerns and proposals proved very valuable and indispensable. On behalf of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, he thanked all the members of the Galle Dialogue Organizing Committee and the Commander Southern Naval Area and his staff for working tirelessly to make the mega event a success.