US will ex­pand mil­i­tary to mil­i­tary re­la­tions with SL: Ad­mi­ral Swift

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DARSHANA SANJEEWA

The US look for­ward to the ex­pan­sion of their mil­i­tary to mil­i­tary re­la­tions with Sri Lanka through mil­i­tary ex­er­cises, U.S. Pa­cific Fleet Com­man­der Ad­mi­ral Scott Swift said.

He said U.S. Pa­cific Fleet forces joined the Sri Lanka Navy in Trin­co­ma­lee as part of Ex­er­cise CARAT 2017 last week and ac­tiv­i­ties like CARAT, both from an in­ter­op­er­abil­ity per­spec­tive and from a per­spec­tive of build­ing trust and co­op­er­a­tion to ad­dress mul­ti­lat­eral chal­lenges.

“When Sri Lanka ex­pe­ri­enced se­vere flood­ing this past May, sev­eral na­tions sent naval forces and pro­vided as­sis­tance to aid in dis­as­ter re­sponse and re­cov­ery. It is what re­spon­si­ble navies do, and I com­mend my fel­low naval lead­ers for their lead­er­ship in their de­ci­sion to pro­vide as­sis­tance”, the Ad­mi­ral said.

Ad­dress­ing the Galle Di­a­logue 2017 held in Colombo, Ad­mi­ral Scott Swift em­pha­sized that en­gage­ment and build­ing trust re­mains a crit­i­cal part of main­tain­ing the in­clu­sive se­cu­rity net­work that sus­tains the rules-based or­der and helps pro­tect free­dom of the seas for the ben­e­fit of all na­tions.

“As we build trust be­tween our forces, we im­prove our abil­ity to pro­vide se­cu­rity on a wider scale. Piracy and armed rob­bery at sea plagued the West­ern In­dian Ocean for an ex­tended pe­riod, dis­rupt­ing the de­liv­ery of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to So­ma­lia and threat­en­ing the use of crit­i­cal sea lanes. In 2012 alone, the es­ti­mated costs to gov­ern­ments and the ship­ping in­dus­try caused by piracy were nearly $7 bil­lion. It took a col­lec­tive re­sponse by mar­itime na­tions and their navies, a U.N. res­o­lu­tion, and ad­just­ments to best prac­tices and poli­cies in the ship­ping in­dus­try to re­duce this threat to more man­age­able lev­els,”he said.

Ad­mi­ral Swift said just as na­tions and their mar­itime forces have the abil­ity to build trust, their ac­tions, like ap­ply­ing national laws in in­ter­na­tional space, erodes any trust that can be gained by mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. He said as the Pa­cific Fleet Com­man­der, he look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work closely with like minded na­tions, fo­cus­ing on en­sur­ing the ben­e­fits pro­vided by free and open ac­cess to the mar­itime do­main are en­joyed by all na­tions, re­gard­less of size, strength or wealth.

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