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 multi-lateral 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. (Darshana Sanjeewa)