National Security Adviser Ajit Doval can be in Colombo on Friday for trilateral discussions amongst India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi may even journey to Colombo, whereas the Sri Lankan aspect can be represented on the highest ranges by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, officers mentioned.
This is Mr. Doval’s second official visit to Sri Lanka this yr. He was right here in January — on the heels of President Rajapaksa’s resounding election victory final yr and New Delhi visit quickly after — and held discussions on strengthening army ties and countering a “debt trap”, with the Sri Lankan management.
Friday’s scheduled assembly of the Indian Ocean neighbours marks the resumption of the NSA-level trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation talks, after six years. The final such dialogue was held in New Delhi in March 2014, and the Sri Lankan aspect was represented by President Rajapaksa, who was then the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.
The initiative started in 2011 and high officers met usually till New Delhi’s relations with the previous Abdulla Yameen administration in Male deteriorated, in accordance to diplomatic sources. New Delhi was ready for the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections — they have been held in August and reaffirmed the Rajapaksas’ electoral enchantment — to revive the trilateral talks, sources mentioned.
On the sidelines of the trilateral assembly, the NSA can be anticipated to have “other high-level bilateral engagements”, a press launch from the Ministry of External Affairs mentioned, in a sign that bilateral issues of high precedence to New Delhi can be mentioned with the Sri Lankan management. The potential joint improvement of the East Container Terminal on the strategically positioned Colombo Port — by Sri Lanka, in partnership with India and Japan — has been in information, with port employee unions resisting international involvement.
Sources in Colombo mentioned issues of shared curiosity and concern are seemingly to be taken up for dialogue. Significantly, the assembly comes months after the Maldives signed a defence cope with the U.S., and extra just lately, acquired a Japanese grant to strengthen its coastguard.
Mr. Doval’s visit additionally is available in a collection of visits by high international officers to Colombo, first by a high-powered Chinese delegation early in October, adopted by that of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late final month amid a persisting second wave of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The visiting delegations, Colombo maintained, have been inside a “travel bubble” and “followed all health protocols”.