Strategically being located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka strongly recognizes the significance of secure seas for global prosperity and connectivity. The significant economic transformation that Asia has experienced and the potential of the region becoming the most focused ocean space in the world brings along a wide range of opportunities as well as multitude of challenges.
The maritime space of Asia is strongly connected to the Indian and the Pacific Ocean through trade and commerce routes. It is evident by the way the region is identified; Indo-Pacific for some and Asia-Pacific for others, and is looked upon by all the key maritime powers in the world as a very important strategic maritime space in relation to their national interests. At the same time, the smaller nations with comparatively limited maritime resources have become an integral element of maritime security architectures in our region. Any critique will easily accept that no nation can and will not try to portray, that a single power or a coalition will be able to maintain peace and stability on their own. In such a background, all maritime nations have a role to play in ensuring the overall balance of strategic weight.
There are more areas that nations agree for safer and secure seas than areas on which disagreements exist. At the same time, there is universal agreement that a collective strategy on identified common challenges has to be built upon a rule based and a mutually respected strategy. Therefore, the value of forming a mutually respected collective strategy to address common challenges has been universally well received. Due to the ever increasing maritime nexus between trade and commerce regionally and globally, connectivity and forging sturdy partnerships have become the only means of which viable solutions are found.
As combined efforts result in multiplying the outcome, it is important that we interconnect through a well articulated strategy to address issues that are maritime centric. As no nation is capable of addressing present day maritime issues in isolation due to the sheer vastness of the ocean space and complexity of maritime security threats and challenges, nations are becoming more partnership oriented. Certain initiatives that are already in place provide us with a base to form broader partnerships in addressing present as well as future maritime security threats and challenges. Therefore, this year’s Galle Dialogue theme “Fostering Strategic Maritime Partnerships” reflects the concept, that achieving maritime security and prosperity, is necessarily a partnership oriented process. It is expected that deliberations will promote the concept of strategic maritime partnerships and the potential that such collaboration have in achieving common goals to ensure maritime security.