Colombo Security Conclave agrees on roadmap for security in Indian Ocean region | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Colombo Security Conclave agrees on roadmap for security in Indian Ocean region

Dec 07, 2023 10:48 PM IST

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval represented India at the sixth meeting of senior security officials of the Colombo Security Conclave in Port Louis, Mauritius

NEW DELHI: The Colombo Security Conclave, a grouping that includes India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and the Maldives, on Thursday agreed on a roadmap to ensure the security and stability of the Indian Ocean region in the face of non-traditional and emerging hybrid challenges.

The member states reviewed the progress in implementing decisions made at the fifth meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave (X/@HCI_PortLouis)
The member states reviewed the progress in implementing decisions made at the fifth meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave (X/@HCI_PortLouis)

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval represented India at the sixth meeting of senior security officials of the Colombo Security Conclave in Port Louis, Mauritius. Besides Doval’s counterparts from Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Mauritius, the meeting was joined by senior officials from Bangladesh and Seychelles.

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The member states reviewed the progress in implementing decisions made at the fifth meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave and agreed on a roadmap of activities for 2024, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

The member states also reiterated the role and responsibility of the Colombo Security Conclave in ensuring the safety, security and stability of the Indian Ocean amid traditional, non-traditional and emerging hybrid challenges, the people said.

Over the past year, the members of the grouping and observer states have participated in several activities that covered the investigation of terrorism cases, narcotics trafficking, cyber-crime, countering the financing of terrorism, marine pollution, maritime law, coastal security, oceanography and hydrography, and cyber-security.

The Colombo Security Conclave was established in 2020, when India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives agreed to expand the scope of their trilateral meeting on maritime cooperation. Mauritius joined the conclave at the fifth meeting of the grouping in Male in March 2022.

Cooperation under the conclave focuses on five pillars – maritime safety and security, countering terrorism and radicalisation, combating trafficking and transnational organised crime, cyber-security and protection of critical infrastructure, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Bangladesh and Seychelles have been participating in the meetings of the Colombo Security Conclave as observer states.

Under the maritime security pillar, the first oceanographers and hydrographers conference was held in India in November 2022. Senior scientists from member and observer states agreed on a substantive list of deliverables, including the establishment of institutional linkages between oceanography and hydrography institutes, joint expeditions and scientific research, collaboration in environmental impact assessment about maritime incidents, and sharing of oceanographic information.

As a follow-up to the conference, an Ocean Information Services portal was launched at Thursday’s meeting in Mauritius. The second oceanographers and hydrographers conference is scheduled to be held in early 2024.

Another regular activity under this pillar is the Coastal Security Conference. The first such conference, held in Chennai in December 2022, India brought together the heads of Coast Guards and other senior leadership from member and observer states to discuss threats to coasts. There was agreement on continuing to cooperate to deal with these threats through the sharing of information and engagements.

The people said the next Coastal Security Conference will likely be held in the last quarter of 2024.

As a part of cooperation for training and capacity building pillar, police officers, counter-terrorism experts, drug and law enforcement officers and cyber-security experts have been engaging in regular exchanges. Joint working groups on countering terrorism and radicalisation and on cyber-security and protection of critical infrastructure have been established to deepen cooperation in specific priority areas.

Joint working groups on combating trafficking and transnational organised crime and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief have also been conceptualised and are under discussion between the member states, the people said.

The Colombo Security Conclave also meets at the level of deputy NSAs to oversee the implementation of decisions and directions from the NSAs. The next edition of the meeting of NSAs is scheduled to be held in India in 2024.

During his visit to Mauritius, Doval also called on Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth.

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