B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka is contemplating setting up a national strategy for maritime security to address issues related to its strategic and commercial interests in the Indian Ocean. The suggestion has been mooted by a high-level committee appointed by Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. On receipt of a concept paper, Mr. Bogollagama has underlined the need for Sri Lanka to adopt a strategy for maritime security, given her geo-strategic location in the Indian Ocean.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the concept paper on maritime security, the first ever comprehensive study conducted in Sri Lanka, covered a wide range of aspects. Having researched and identified the threats, objectives and the strategic plan of action, the paper suggested Sri Lanka should formulate a well-defined national maritime security strategy for the protection of marine resources from unlawful exploitation, prevention of damage or harm to vital assets from acts of subversion, terrorism or sabotage, it said.

The committee has proposed many plans such as maritime domain awareness and intelligence integration, integrated threat response, a regional and global coordination strategy, infrastructure recovery, transportation and commercial security.

The paper also proposed the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Council and a National Maritime Coordinating Authority through the enactment of legislations. The establishment of a Net-Centric Communication Network linking various units has also been suggested. This would facilitate real-time information, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Separately, the military claimed at least 14 LTTE cadres were killed and 12 injured in battles in the north. The LTTE, in a report posted on its website, claimed hundreds of government employees from the secretariat, hospital, schools and zonal education office marched down the A9 Road to the Kilinochchi District Secretariat on Wednesday to request the government to ensure their safety in Kilinochchi.