“The Indian Ocean – Defining our future” Two-day Conference held at Temple Trees

Published : 9:08 am  October 12, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (59) reads | 

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By Sandun A. Jayasekera

The Indian Ocean sea-lanes have become the major arteries of East-West trade, connecting East and Southeast Asia via South Asia to East Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.   
The rise of Japan, South Korea China, India and the ASEAN economies have turned these sea-lanes into a maritime super highway carrying around half the world’s container shipping and about two-thirds of its oil shipments. A strategic geographic location and a rich resource base underpin this heavy maritime traffic, he added.   Delivering the keynote address at the two day international conclave themed ‘The Indian Ocean – Defining Our Future’ at the Temple Trees yesterday, Premier Wickremesinghe went onto say that ancient scholars recognised the importance of the Indian Ocean and they called it the repository of jewels in reference to its riches. This was due to the trade civilisation that came about in the Indian Ocean 7,000 years ago connecting the cities in the Nile, Euphrates – Tigris and Indus vallies. Many millenia later Admiral Alfred Mahan was farsighted enough to forecast that the 21st Century will be decided on the waters of the Indian Ocean.   Mr. Wickremesinghe said that strategic tensions can threaten the immense potential of this region. Such tensions are not limited to the surface of the Indian Ocean, but now extend to its sub-surface waters and its airspace as well.   

 

Wickremesinghe went onto say that ancient scholars recognised the importance of the Indian Ocean and they called it the repository of jewels in reference to its riches. 


This conference aims to create an inclusive platform for discussion and dialogue for littoral states and major maritime users of the Indian Ocean. Our purpose is to work towards a shared understanding that benefits all, Mr. Wickremesinghe pointed out.   


Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana welcoming the participants said the conference was expected to focus onhow we could better manage the Indian Ocean in defining our future.    Special envoy for the Ocean UN Secretary General, Peter Thomson and Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja addressed the gathering.   President Maithripala Sirisena and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya also graced the occasion. 


Pic by Gayan Amarasekara