Venue - Light House Hotel, Galle
Date - 13th and 14th December 2012
Over emphasis is not necessary to reiterate Sri Lanka’s strategically important location in the Indian Ocean, which is a widely accepted fact. It is also true that it was through sea trade that Sri Lanka was known and its history was shaped over the years. In this context Sri Lanka like all the other nations which depends on the stability of the Indian Ocean, is extremely concerned and mindful of the safety and security of this vital ocean space.
The world underwent a number of notable shake-ups in 2011; the economic crisis in Europe, USA and other parts of the world, the Arab springs, the Fukushima disaster etc. We have to be mindful of how all these developments will impact the funding, resource allocation and deployment patterns of all the Navies interested in the region, since, the Indian Ocean is a major area of concern not only for the regional players but also to the major powers of the world. Further, it is apparent that, due to the importance of the Indian Ocean, the strategic balance in the region will change in foreseeable future.
Everyone would accept that, for all these countries, Maritime Security has become a priority concern, whether the oceans are seen in terms of increasingly frequented transport routes, a source of energy and other raw material, a place of sovereignty or, as support bases for international peace keeping and other military and humanitarian operations. Therefore, one thing is certain; the 21st century will have a maritime focus. Oceans are becoming highly coveted assets and as such will need to be defended and made safe.
We also know that over the last few years, issues of maritime safety and security have constantly made international headlines. The increase in number of occurrences of illegal immigration, the high number of incidents of acts of piracy particularly around the horn of Africa, the increase possibility of terrorist attacks to ports and other installations, the continuing growth of drug / human trafficking, the concerns of IUU fishing, acts of pollution; etc, have raised fresh challenges to the sovereignty of the seas, causing Maritime security missions to assume critical dimensions. Even revisiting the Laws governing the seas has become necessary to achieve the desired objectives.
In the context of shifting of the strategic balance towards the Indian Ocean, every nation would consent that cooperation and partnership is the prudent approach to face the future.
In view of the above concept, under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence & Urban Development, the Sri Lanka Navy is planning to organize this year’s Galle Dialogue initiative under the theme “Strategic Maritime Cooperation and partnerships to face the future with confidence”
The conference theme reflects the concept that achieving Maritime Security and prosperity is not the responsibility of a singular country but of all interested nations and partners embodying a whole of government approach.
The previous two Galle Dialogue initiatives in 2010 and 2011, created forums to discuss and deliberate matters to identity the Challenges to Maritime Security and Strategic approach to move forward. This year’s theme is expected to give the participating nations to come up with specific concepts of how they view partnerships and cooperation could strengthen maritime security operations to face the future with confidence.
As directed by the Ministry of Defence & Urban Development of Sri Lanka, the conference will be held on 13th and 14thof December 2012 at Light House Hotel in the historic city of Galle in Southern Sri Lanka.