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India, Sri Lanka, Maldives agree to improve intel sharing

NSA Ajit Doval, Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne and Maldives Foreign Minister Mariya Didi during the signing of minutes after a trilateral meeting on maritime security cooperation between the nations.   | Photo Credit: PTI

India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Saturday agreed to expand the scope of intelligence sharing, including terrorism and cyber security, after a meet in which they discussed “common security threats”.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who arrived in Colombo on Friday, called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday and participated in the discussions with the Indian Ocean neighbours. Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi arrived in Colombo for the meeting while the Sri Lankan side was represented by Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary, Ministry of Defence. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena addressed the participants as the Chief Guest, a tweet from the Indian High Commission said. Mauritius and Seychelles were represented virtually at the senior officials’ level.

In a joint statement following the meeting, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence said the 4th National Security Adviser-level trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation meeting — the practice has been revived after a six-year gap — sought to promote meaningful cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, with focus on common issues pertaining to maritime security.

The three countries also exchanged views on common security threats and agreed to broad-base cooperation by expanding the scope to improve intelligence sharing and include issues like terrorism, radicalisation, extremism, drugs, arms and human trafficking, money laundering, cyber security and effect of climate change on maritime environment, according to the statement.

Mr. Doval also held bilateral discussions with Ms. Didi and with Sri Lankan officials.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 4:20:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nsa-doval-holds-bilateral-talks-with-maldivian-defence-minister/article33198873.ece

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