National Security Advisor Ajit Doval participated in the high-level trilateral maritime dialogue between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Saturday.
Sri Lanka is hosting the fourth trilateral meeting on maritime security cooperation with India and the Maldives.
The meeting takes place after six years – the last meeting took place in New Delhi in 2014.
“The trilateral meeting between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives on maritime transport and security cooperation begins,” said the Indian High Commission in Colombo in a tweet.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister and Chairman of Parliament, Dinesh Gunawardena, was the main guest at the event.
Observers from Bangladesh, Mauritius and the Seychelles will attend the meeting, the Sri Lankan military announced on Thursday.
Ajit Doval, who came to Colombo for dialogue on Friday, met with Maldivian Defense Minister Mariya Didi on Friday and held a heartfelt and detailed discussion on deepening the bilateral partnership with the most important island nation in the Indian Ocean.
Ajit Doval also met with Sri Lankan Defense Minister Major General (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne on Friday and agreed on several steps to further strengthen the “valuable” cooperation between the two countries, which also contributes to peace and security in the region.
“NSA Ajit Doval met Maj. Kamal Gunaratne, Sri Lanka’s Defense Minister, and discussed issues related to the growing defense and security partnership between the two countries,” the Indian High Commission said in a tweet in Colombo.
The high-level trilateral meeting aims to launch collective action on maritime safety, including maritime awareness raising, legal regulations, search and rescue trains, pollution control, information sharing, anti-piracy drug control and smuggling in the Indian Ocean.
On Thursday the Foreign Ministry announced in New Delhi that the trilateral meeting at NSA level had served as an effective platform for cooperation between Indian Ocean countries.
“The meeting provides an opportunity to discuss issues relating to cooperation in the field of maritime security in the Indian Ocean,” the MEA said in a statement.
The meeting takes place amid China’s attempts to spread its influence in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region.
China sees the Maldives as key to its Indian Ocean Silk Road project, having already acquired the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.