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The Cabinet has approved a proposal by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Finance Minister to implement a project to manufacture semi-steel and total steel radial tyres for the export market.

Co-cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly Cabinet media briefing held online yesterday, that Shandong Haohua Tire Co. Limited of China has submitted a project proposal to the Board of Investment with the investment of US 300 million for the establishment of a project within the premises of Hambantota international harbour

to manufacture semi-steel and total steel radial tyres for the export market.

The Board of Investment has given its consent for this project as a strategy development project under the Strategic Development Act (Amended No.14 of 2008).

 
 

Cabinet approval has been granted to award tax relief as per the provisions under the Strategic Development Act subject to inauguration of the project within a period of 36 months and export at least 80 percent of the total production.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa commissioning the Mannar wind power project yesterday. Power Minister Dullas Alahapperuma was present.

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the process of making the nearest school the best school has not become a reality in society.

He said parents are under pressure to enrol their children in popular schools and as a remedy, it has become imperative to build schools with all facilities outside the city.

The minister was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a girls’ school in the Kandy Digana - Rajawella area under the Green and Smart School Concept. The Central Provincial Education Ministry will spend Rs.500 million for this under the first phase. The school is scheduled to open in 2022.

The Minister said education has been given priority in the President’s ‘Vision of Prosperity’ manifesto and the construction of such schools will make the programme a reality. There are about 10,156 schools in the country, of which 370 are national schools, he said, adding that plans are on to increase the number of national schools to 1,000.

 
 

He said that out of the total number of schools, there are 3,000 schools with less than 100 students and 700 schools with less than 50 students.

The Ministry of Environment on the instructions of Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has introduced a Special Container to recycle carbon pens after use.

This is the first time such a programme has been launched in Sri Lanka, the Ministry said in a media communique.

The first container was handed over to the President on Thursday by Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. Later he also handed over the containers to the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and the Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Minister Amaraweera also presented a recycling drop box for disposable pens and toothbrushes to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. This initiative was launched based on the shared theme of “Discipline, Not Law” to promote recycling and find economic-based sustainable waste solutions in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Rajapaksa appreciated this initiative, which helps tackle the recycling issue and works towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly Sri Lanka.

The container can hold up to 3,000 carbon pens and 500 toothbrushes, and once the container is full, Atlas, one of the island's leading carbon pen manufacturers, and INSEE Cement will have to pay for them.

Arrangements have been made to provide this Special Container free of charge to all schools and ministries. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that not even a single cent of government money was spent for this and that this programme was initiated with the assistance of the private sector.

 
 

The Minister said that disposable carbon pens used by schools, offices and various individuals in the island pose a serious environmental problem. At present, it is reported that the amount of carbon pens used and discarded in the school system of our country alone is between 75-80 Kg per day.

Scientific research has shown that it takes about 100 years for carbon pens to decompose when they are released into the environment.

The carbon pens that are added to the soil decompose, the micro plastics become micro plastic molecules and pollute the soil for about 500 years.

The Speaker and the Leader of the House thanked the Minister of Environment for the steps taken by the Ministry of Environment to prevent the environmental damage caused by carbon pens.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is in Anuradhapura visited the historic Anuradhapura Sacred Area and performed religious rites in front of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi this morning (5).

President called on the Chief Incumbent of Atamasthana Ven. Dr. Pallegama Siriniwasa Theroa and received his blessings.

Later visiting Ruwanwali Maha Saya President had a cordial conversation with the Chief Incumbent of the Ruwanwai Raja Maha Viharaya, Ven. Pallegama Hemarathana Thero.

President engaged in religious observances at the Ruwanwali Maha Seya and inspected the Anuradhapura Sacred Area Development Master Plan.

The cost of the sacred area development project is Rs. 450 million. It will be implemented as 28 project sunder 3 phases. Construction work is scheduled to be completed before December 2024.

Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development Mrs. Anjali Devaraj, Chairman of the Urban Development Authority Harshan Silva, Director General Prasad Ranaweera were also present during the discussion.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the 20th Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit yesterday, said that there are 289 large scale projects worth over Rs. 5 Trillion being implemented by Government Ministries and Departments.

“It is also very important that they be completed on time and also in conformity with the budgeted values which have been allocated,” the Prime Minister said.

“There are over 1.8 million employees working in 400 Government departments engaged in economic activities. We will treat it as an absolute priority to get the maximum returns efficiently from both the human and physical resources in a people’s friendly manner,” the Prime Minister said.

“While expressing satisfaction with the progress already made, we must continue to further develop the economy and strengthen the lives of the people,” he said.

We must ensure that we get on to a higher growth trajectory very soon and very fast and the entire country should be transformed into a work place. We see that is also one of the core objectives of your Summit and we also see it as a priority that you should also exchange information with the public sector departments as well in the formulation of these strategies. As a result of these developments, we are happy that the foreign remittances and the export revenues that we are getting now are higher than even prior to the outbreak of the COVID 19. The restrictions on the imports that we have implemented and the external sector has shown a satisfactory position and the trade balance has also shown better results.

However, Foreign Direct Investments which have been received are not yet in a satisfactory position and we wish to remind the private sector also about it. Therefore, it is up to the private sector to increase the FDI’s into this country and we are pleased to remind them about it.

The Prime Minister observed that the Chamber Summit had deliberated on the strategies which were needed to be adopted locally and globally on the first day. You had also deliberated on the role of the private sector in the development process of the country as well.

 
 

“You had also discussed the economic development of the country, using the nationally available resources. You have also deliberated on the use of the technology and all this goes to show that you are all keen to ensure accelerated development,” he said.

While appreciating that the state institutions were performing a responsible service, the Prime Minister also said that it was important to make all state institutions people- centric.

He also expressed pleasure that the Chamber Summit was also deliberating on Food Security. While mentioning that it was the responsibility of the Government to ensure that the food security prevailed, it also needed the cooperation of the citizenry,” he said.

He also said that one of the big time lessons that COVID-19 taught us was to be self-sufficient in food, though some people were blissfully conscious of the fact that any kind of food could be imported. Now, we could see the dangers of that theory, if we went along with that belief,” the Prime Minister added.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Poultry sectors will be exempted from income tax for the next five years, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

He was virtually joining in the inaugural session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit yesterday.

Addressing the event, the President said tax concessions will be granted for strategic investments larger than ten million US dollars in value for agricultural product processing, IT, dairy, fabric, tourism and export industries.

“Exports are being strongly encouraged through the removal of import taxes on required raw materials, machinery, and equipment used by direct and indirect exporters. The private sector must introduce new technologies that enable farmers to produce more, and to target lucrative new export markets,” he remarked.

Addressing the event, the President also said the Government was in the process of bringing in new laws to protect investments. He emphasised the need to attract more Foreign Direct Investment and encourage more local investment for economic growth.

“Our overreliance on loans must come to an end. That is why the focus of the Government is on fostering investments.

We are also committed to enhancing the ease of doing business in Sri Lanka so that returns on investment can be generated faster,” he added.

He noted that the Government was keen on addressing the problems which had delayed and stalled various projects including some funded by foreign Governments.

 
 

He also highlighted that the Government strongly encourages new investment into digital infrastructure.

“In some ways, the new normal conditions have forced the adoption of many new work practices. Working from home has been normalised for most knowledge workers. Offices where the physical presence of staff remains necessary are devising means to improve efficiency so that work can be carried out even by a skeletal staff. Innovative technology driven solutions have been adopted to solve logistical problems. Consumers have become more familiar with using online platforms for day-to-day activities, whether in accessing financial services or for shopping.

“Such changes can potentially transform how economies operate even after this pandemic is a thing of the past.

If our institutions are agile and adapt quickly, we will see gains in productivity resulting from these changes,” he added.

“By converging four prominent technologies - social, mobile, analytics, and cloud-we have the potential to transform the way governance works. The recent introduction of the Staysafe.gov.lk website to ease COVID-19 contact tracing is a case in point.

  • 06 new Judges appointed to Supreme Court
  • New President for the Court of Appeal
  • 14 new Judges to Court of Appeal

 

President pledges to support independence of the judiciary and ensures its functioning is free of politicization and other forms of interference

Marking a new milestone in the judicial system of the country 21 new Judges to superior courts were sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Six new Judges to the Supreme Court and 14 new Judges to the Court of Appeal took oaths before President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat today (1).

Judges appointed to the Supreme Court

  1. Hon. Justice A. H. M. Dilip Nawaz
  2. Hon. Justice Kumudini Wickremasinghe
  3. Hon. Justice Anthony Lalith Shiran Gooneratne
  4. Hon. Justice Janak de Silva
  5. Hon. Justice Arachchige Achala Uthpalavarna Wengappuli
  6. Hon. Justice Mahinda Abeysinghe Samayawardhena

Justice Arjuna Obeysekara was sworn in as the President of the Court of Appeal.

 Judges appointed to the Court of Appeal

  1. Ms Menaka Wijesundera
  2. Mr  D. N. Samarakoon
  3. Mr M Prasantha de Silva
  4. Mr M. T. M. Laffar
  5. Mr C. Pradeep Keerthisinghe
  6. Mr Sampath B Abayakoon
  7. Mr M. S. K. B. Wijeratne
  8. Mr S. U. B. Karalliyadde
  9. Mr R. Gurusinghe
  10. Mr G. A. D. Ganepola
  11. Mrs K. K. A. V. Swarnadhipathi
  12. Mr Mayadunne Corea
  13. Mr Prabaharan Kumararatnam
  14. Mr W. N. N. P. Iddawala

 President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing the gathering pledged to support independence of the judiciary and ensured its functioning is free of politicization and other forms of interference.

“The judicial cadre of both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal has remained static since 1978. Although the necessity of increasing the number of judges in the superior courts has been mooted several times in the past, the number of judges in both courts has remained the same for over forty years. There have been many advancements in the law and litigation has increased exponentially in this time. However, there has not been a corresponding increase in the number of judges”.

The efficient administration of justice is not only important in terms of upholding the rule of law, it is also vital to the economic development of this nation President said adding that  reliable, efficient and effective dispute resolution through the justice system will foster the nation’s progress.

Chief Justice Jayantha C Jayasooriya, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga were also present.

 Full text of the speech at the swearing in of Judges

 

  • Honourable Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
  • Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court
  • Honourable President of the Court of Appeal
  • Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal
  • Ladies and gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to address Your Lordships on the occasion of your elevation to the superior courts of our country.  First of all, let me wish your Lordships a very successful tenure. In my view, this is the first time in judicial history that a mass swearing in of this magnitude has taken place. I consider it a signal honour to administer oaths to such a galaxy of men and women so learned in the law.

The judicial cadre of both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal has remained static since 1978. Although the necessity of increasing the number of judges in the superior courts has been mooted several times in the past, the number of judges in both courts has remained the same for over forty years. There have been many advancements in the law and litigation has increased exponentially in this time. However, there has not been a corresponding increase in the number of judges.

It is therefore a matter of pride that our Government has redressed this long felt need through the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. Amongst the many reasons that prompted this change is the perennial problem of the law’s delays.

There is a popular saying that “Justice delayed is Justice denied”. Unfortunately, it is clear that while more and more cases were being instituted in the superior courts, there was insufficient judicial manpower to hear them fast and dispense justice. This was not a situation conducive to public confidence, nor to the proper functioning of the republic.

The efficient administration of justice is not only important in terms of upholding the rule of law, it is also vital to the economic development of this nation. Reliable, efficient and effective dispute resolution through the justice system will foster the nation’s progress.

At present, it takes a long time to enforce a contract in Sri Lanka. We have been ranked 161st out of 189 countries for the enforcement of contracts, and the Sri Lankan legal system is ranked 5th out of 8 in South Asia. These indicators must improve.

The Government understands the importance of a strong, efficient and independent justice system, and it is deeply aware of the need to enhance its capacity. Today’s solemn swearing in ceremony took place against this backdrop, and as a key step taken by the Government to redress this issue.

Access to justice today is a fundamental right. It is the sacred duty and obligation of the state to provide an enabling environment to make that right real and not imaginary. Access to justice must be transparent if the people are to have confidence and faith in the judicial system.

Whether we perform our role within the Executive, the Legislature or the Judiciary, we are all custodians of that faith. We hold our office in trust for the people. As judges, the people look to you to uphold the immense dignities of your high office, to discharge your duties with integrity and independence, and to ensure that justice is dispensed equitably to all.

In this context, it is a matter of some concern that there has been an onslaught on the dignity and independence of legal systems. I am deeply committed to supporting the independence of the judiciary and ensuring that its functioning is free of politicization and other forms of interference. The judiciary must also rise and use its powers to fight this menace. Freedom of speech is not a license to defame and malign anyone, least of all judges.

We as a Government stand prepared to support you in every way necessary to achieve the objective of administering an efficient, equitable and independent judicial system. This commitment applies to the uplifting of the dilapidated courtrooms throughout the country, assistance in digitising laborious manual processes to enhance efficiency, and providing greater funding for training of personnel in the judicial system, together with other identified requirements.

Through this, and through your efficient and judicious discharging of your grave responsibilities, I am confident that we will be able to achieve a lasting beneficial transformation of the judicial system in Sri Lanka.

Full text of the speech by His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2020 on December 01, 2020 

  • Shrimathi Nirmala Sitharaman, Honourable Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Republic of India
  • Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money, Capital Markets & State Enterprise Reforms
  • Hans Wijayasuriya, Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
  • Distinguished Invitees
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to address you this morning at the inaugural session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2020. I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Shrimathi Nirmala Sitharaman, Honourable Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs of the Republic of India for gracing this session as its Keynote Speaker.

This year, with the prevailing global pandemic, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has taken the commendable step of hosting this Summit on a virtual platform.

During the past six weeks, the Government has focused intensively on containing the threat posed by the second wave of the virus. However, unlike in the early stages of the pandemic, a lot more is known about it now. This allows us to better balance the twin imperatives of containing the virus on the one hand and ensuring continued economic activity on the other. We must all adapt to this new normal.

In some ways, this new normal has had beneficial consequences. It has forced the adoption of many new work practices. Working from home has been normalised for most knowledge workers. Offices where the physical presence of staff remains necessary are devising means to improve efficiency so that work can be carried out even by a skeletal staff. Innovative technology driven solutions have been adopted to solve logistical problems. Consumers have become more familiar with using online platforms for day-to-day activities, whether in accessing financial services or for shopping.

Such changes can potentially transform how economies operate even after this pandemic is a thing of the past. If our institutions are agile and adapt quickly, we will see gains in productivity resulting from these changes.

I therefore strongly encourage the development of new business models, adoption of new technologies and platforms, and improvement of infrastructure needed to support this productivity enhancing transformation. Investment is also needed in human resource development to enable our workers to make the most of these changes.

It must be admitted, however, that some Government institutions may lag behind in this regard at the moment. This is due to legacy problems including lack of infrastructure, process engineering, and training. Changing this is one of my key priorities.

The very recent establishment of a separate Ministry of Technology under my direct purview is an important step in our overall drive towards digitization. Fostering the creation of a “Technology Based Society” that improves services available to citizens whilst enabling our industries to compete globally is a key pillar of the Vision I articulated before my election as President.

By converging four prominent technologies—social, mobile, analytics, and cloud—we have the potential to transform the way governance works. The recent introduction of the Staysafe.gov.lk website to ease COVID19 contact tracing is a case in point.

More broadly, the fostering of citizen-centric digital governance will ensure that services such as obtaining National Identity Cards, Passports, Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, Driving Licenses, Land Deeds etc., is made faster and more convenient to the public.

The digitisation of the National Persons’ Registry in particular will enable a more streamlined and secure process for identity verification. This will in turn build the foundation for improved online service delivery in many other areas, including financial services and ecommerce. It will also greatly enhance the Government’s ability to effectively widen the tax base, which will be one of the key factors in improving our fiscal position.

A significant issue in Sri Lanka’s current economic context is the extremely high debt burden we are faced with. The large volume of pending debt repayments is a matter of concern. It is important to stress, however, that Sri Lanka has always met its debt obligations on time and in full, and that we will continue to do so.

Nevertheless, our overreliance on loans must come to an end. That is why the focus of the Government is on fostering investments. We must attract more Foreign Direct Investment and encourage more local investment to drive our economic growth. With this in view, the Government is bringing in new laws to fully protect investments. We are also committed to enhancing the ease of doing business in Sri Lanka so that returns on investment can be generated faster.

In this context, I must also note there have been several instances of projects, including some funded by foreign Governments, that have stalled due to various reasons. Such delays are deeply problematic because they inhibit the benefits of these projects from reaching the people. They also create a negative picture about the way the country operates.

The Government is keen on addressing such problems that discourage investors. I note with interest that our closest friend and partner India is in the process of setting up a digital unified single window clearance system so that access to regulators, policymakers and facilitators will all be available at one point for investors.

Such mechanisms improve the speed and ease of doing business. They also enhance transparency and reduce corruption. Mechanisms to monitor project implementation and enable intervention when required are also important.  Means of introducing these are being assessed.

The theme of this year’s Economic Summit—Roadmap for Take Off: Driving a People-Centric Economic Revival—is very appropriate for our present circumstances. Several key economic areas have been badly affected.

The worst hit has been Tourism, which usually contributes so much to our economy. Leaders in this industry together with the medical community must set out a plan to restart tourism as soon as possible. This plan must adhere to all health protocols and ensure tourists have an enjoyable stay in Sri Lanka while remaining isolated from the wider public. By imposing minimum lengths of stay and attracting high-spending tourists, it should maximise earnings from tourism so that the economy benefits overall.

Especially since the number of tourist arrivals may need to be limited early on, we should first reopen to the highest spending tourists we can attract. This can also reposition Sri Lanka as a destination for higher end tourists, resulting in higher revenue generated by the industry in the long term.

Despite its overall negative impact on the economy, the current situation has nonetheless provided an impetus for improvements in certain sectors including manufacturing. Increased global demand for Personal Protective Equipment has encouraged many of our strong, well established companies in the apparels sector to pivot to manufacturing these products.

I am in fact glad to note that Sri Lanka’s export revenue in 2020 overall has fared considerably better than the ongoing pandemic would have initially led us to anticipate. This is largely due to such commendable efforts by our private sector.

We must also understand that the disruption of global value chains and supply chains, and constraints on traditional manufacturing hubs, create space for countries like Sri Lanka to innovate, produce new things, and enter new markets.

Our rising entrepreneurs as well as established companies must seek out new opportunities, moving beyond their comfort zones to explore new ways to deploy their talent and capital. Instead of relying on our geostrategic position and traditional industries alone, we must seek new frontiers for our resources.

Many companies in Sri Lanka have proven their ability to tackle complex manufacturing in some industries. Their capital, management expertise, and well-trained, experienced human resources should be deployed in new areas.

With the Government as an enabler, the private sector must expand its role in the economy. It has often been pointed out that the private sector is the engine of growth. However, for the private sector to truly live up to this reputation, it must make bold investments that can potentially realise outstanding returns, instead of continually adopting conservative, low-risk strategies.

The Government will play its part to unleash the full potential of the private sector so that the interests of our people will be best served. The Budget for 2021 contains a range of initiatives designed with this in mind.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Poultry sectors will be exempted from income tax for the next five years. Improving productivity and enhancing earnings from these sectors is critical. The private sector must introduce new technologies that enable farmers to produce more, and to target lucrative new export markets.

Encouraging wider adoption of organic farming and traceability mechanisms will help increase the price of our produce internationally. Finding new markets and investing in better processing, storage, packaging, and transportation is important, together with increasing value addition through agricultural product processing.

Tax concessions will be granted for strategic investments larger than ten million US dollars in value for agricultural product processing, IT, dairy, fabric, tourism and export industries. Exports are being strongly encouraged through the removal of import taxes on required raw materials, machinery, and equipment used by direct and indirect exporters.

New investment into digital infrastructure is being strongly encouraged. Companies in the Information Technology space must make full use of these incentives to expand and seek new markets for Sri Lankan talent. Companies must also invest more in IT education and training.

Given the fast-changing nature of the industry and its high earnings potential, companies can gain enormous returns by training large numbers of young people in this field themselves, without over-relying on Government funded institutions for new recruits.

Vocational and technical education in general can benefit from much greater private sector investment, for which the Budget also provides incentives. The forced migration of education to digital platforms has shown that there are opportunities to be exploited in online education too. This is an area to which more attention can be paid by established companies as well as by Start Ups and individual entrepreneurs.

Small and Medium Enterprises and Start Ups are being encouraged through concessionary funding schemes and the establishment of a stronger Development Bank that should lend based on assessments of project viability instead of collateral.

Nascent domestic industries will be supported through cess that will be selectively imposed. Other initiatives including simplifying Customs Duty and related streamlining will facilitate functional economic improvements. A range of capital market incentives are also being introduced to encourage investment.

Setting the platform for a robust economic revival requires both the public sector and the private sector to work in partnership. We must ensure that all our initiatives in various sectors are guided by a shared central vision and driven by clear objectives and actionable plans. All initiatives undertaken by both the public and the private sector must contribute to uplifting our growth trajectory.

In this context, I am aware that the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has prepared an Economic Acceleration Framework with the participation of over 70 industry professionals for the consideration of the Government. I appreciate this initiative and look forward to perusing this document. Value generating proposals will certainly receive the Government’s serious attention.

I trust that over these two days, the speakers, panellists and the leading luminaries from the public and the private sector participating in this Summit will give considered thought to innovative ways and means of fostering a truly people-centric economic revival.

Together, we have the opportunity to make a transformative and beneficial difference to Sri Lanka’s future.

In concluding these remarks, I wish to reassure you of my great and sincere confidence that together, we shall.

Member of Parliament Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle has been appointed as the State Minister of Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention.

The new State Minister was sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat this evening (30).

State Ministry for Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention is a new portfolio.

Promoting and maintaining the highest standards of primary health care is one of the main objectives of the ‘Saubhagyaye Dekma’ Policy Statement.  President is of the view that the development and expansion of primary health care services is vital to ensure a high level of health care for the people, especially in rural areas.

With the spread of COVID-19 President decided that a policy and a practical mechanism should be put in place to preemptively identify and control the spread of pandemics.

The new Ministry was created to meet this goal.

Ms. Fernandopulle was previously the State Minister of Prison Reforms and Prisoners Rehabilitation.

The newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today at the Wijerama Residence, stated the Prime Minister’s office.

The 4th National Security Adviser (NSA) Level Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation was hosted by Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday with the participation of India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, the Minister of Defence of the Maldives Ms. Mariya Didi and Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne.

Mauritius and Seychelles were represented virtually at the Senior Officials’ level.

In view of COVID-19, the dialogue was conducted adhering to strict health guidelines using the ‘Air Bubble’ concept for the visiting delegations.

Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives launched the Trilateral NSA level meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation in 2011 and three meetings had been held so far. The last meeting was held in March 2014 in New Delhi. The past deliberations and outcomes have helped the three countries in improving close coordination in maritime security of the region. These were supplemented by Deputy NSA level meetings for sustained engagements and the implementation of the discussions at the NSA level meetings.

 
 

Recognizing the significance of the forum for promoting meaningful cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region on common issues pertaining to maritime security, the three countries took stock of the current maritime security environment in the region and discussed mutual cooperation in the areas of Maritime Domain Awareness, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Joint Exercises, Capacity Building, Maritime Security and Threats, Marine Pollution, and Maritime Underwater Heritage.

They agreed to further strengthen cooperation in dealing with these challenges, to ensure peace and security in the region for common benefit.

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, radicalization, extremism, drugs, arms and human trafficking, money laundering, cyber security and the effect of climate change on maritime environment. The Heads of Delegations agreed to meet regularly to share, discuss and ensure timely implementation of decisions taken at the meeting. They also decided to hold Deputy NSA level working group meetings biannually for cooperation at operational level.

Page 9 of 61

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