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India, Sri Lanka launch maritime coordination center

New Delhi gave a grant to the tune of $6 million to set up the center at the Naval headquarters in Colombo

India, Sri Lanka launch maritime coordination center
[Source photo: X]

India and Sri Lanka this week launched a maritime rescue coordination center during Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Colombo in a reflection of the deepening maritime security cooperation between both nations.

New Delhi gave a grant to the tune of $6 million to set up the center at the Naval headquarters in Colombo.

Jaishankar’s visit to Colombo underlines Sri Lanka’s prominence in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy as well as the security and growth for all in the region (SAGAR) vision.

As per the initial set of agreements, a maritime rescue subcenter (MRSC) will be established at Hambantota, and a few more subunits will be based at Trincomalee, Arugambay, Batticaloa, Kallarawa, Point Pedro, Galle, and Mullikulam.

India had also agreed to donate a $19.81 million 4,000-ton floating dock stationed in Trincomalee.

Jaishankar’s visit, his fifth to Sri Lanka, marks his first bilateral tour following his re-appointment as foreign minister.

He visited the island nation four times between January 2021 and October 2023.

Earlier, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi from 9-10 June to attend the new government’s swearing-in.

Establishing a maritime rescue coordination center was initiated during Jaishankar’s Colombo visit in March 2022 for the 8th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

Both countries signed several defense-related pacts during this meeting to expand maritime security.

At BIMSTEC, Sri Lanka’s defense ministry signed a pact with Bharat Electronics Ltd to supply, install, and commission the MRCC.

Both countries entered the maritime security agreement to secure their strategic interest in the Southern Indian Ocean amid China’s increased activity.

Following Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and stabilization, forging deeper long-term economic cooperation has become a priority for India to ensure the country’s sustainable and equitable growth and mutual prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region.

During the visit, Jaishankar called on President Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and met with his counterpart, foreign minister M.U.M Ali Sabry.

He also held delegation-level talks with the ministers of ports, shipping and aviation, agriculture, and plantation industries.

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