The South and Southeast Asian Nations Defence Chiefs’ Dialogue - 2014 opened in Colombo yesterday (Nov. 27).
The conference, first of its kind, is being held, with the participation of Defence Chiefs in the region.
The SASEAN Dialogue is initiated with the objective of promoting regional peace and stability through dialogue and cooperation in the spheres of defense and security, promoting mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defense and security challenges, and contributing to the establishment of a SASEAN Security Community.
This regular common forum for the Defence Chiefs of Asia is expected to reinforce the vision of The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.
Delivering the keynote address, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that terrorism has become a threat not only to the region but to the entire world.
Speaking further Mr. Rajapaksa said that, South and South East Asian Nations (SA-SEAN) Dialogue of Chiefs of Defence Staffs brings Chiefs of the Armed Forces in the South Asian and South East Asian regions to a common forum". It is our belief that the creation of a platform of this nature will enable a free and frank exchange of views and discussion on issues of mutual interest. This will help to improve inter military understanding and cooperation within the region, he also noted.
Elaborating on the transnational nature of threats along with the Sri Lankan past experience over the last thirty years he reiterated that, "The LTTE was a sophisticated terrorist organization with a large international network.
Its operatives were based in a large number of countries in Asia, Western Europe, North America and Australasia", He mentioned.
Accordingly, he explained that how LTTE financed their terrorist's activities using this network trough extortion, sale of narcotics, credit card fraud and voluntary contributions of various illicit elements. "These funds were also used to procure a remarkable arsenal of weapons that was shipped to Sri Lanka through international waters on board vessels sailing under various flags, he added.
While alerting the audience he went on to say that, "countries within the South and South East Asian have been used by such non state actors as meeting places, transit points or even temporary bases from which to initiate their activities.
Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya presented a memento to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
After attending this conference, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said that he is really impressed with the rapid development that has taken place in Sri Lanka.
Chiefs of Defence Staff of South Asian and South East Asian Countries, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, IGP, Tri-Forces Commanders, Foreign delegates and a large gathering of distinguished invitees were present at the event.