Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa Urges Heightened Maritime Security to Combat Global Terrorism
Despite Military Defeat, the LTTE’s International Network Remains “Intact”
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has advocated greater international cooperation on maritime security to combat the threat posed by global terrorists like the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) whose financial, logistical and supply chain networks operate with impunity on the high seas because of lax enforcement and outmoded legal systems. “Countries must realize that with the increasing sophistication displayed by non-state actors in this era, the first line of defense is shifting beyond the shore,” Mr. Rajapaksa stated.
Only multilateral efforts will halt the scourge of terrorism. “Robust ties need to be established between the maritime powers in the region; not just at the diplomatic level but even more importantly at the operational level,” Mr. Rajapaksa declared at the inaugural session of the Galle Dialogue Maritime Conference in Sri Lanka. “Ineffective treaties extolling cooperation and token joint naval exercises are no longer enough,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. “There has to be a deep-rooted commitment to cooperation among these powers. Proper intelligence sharing and timely communication between the navies is essential,” he added.
The defense secretary recalled how the LTTE navigated the seas to wage terrorist operations. Over the course of the decades-long war, the LTTE was able to procure and transport sophisticated weaponry including artillery, mortars, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft systems over international waters and into Sri Lanka without much difficulty, Mr. Rajapaksa said. “It is vitally important that all maritime nations realize the threats they face from the sea,” he told conference attendees.
Mr. Rajapaksa recalled Sri Lanka’s successful struggle to achieve a military victory over the LTTE, a globally recognized terrorist organization that wreaked havoc on the island. However, the LTTE’s international network remains “largely intact” and still capable of terror on the high seas, he said.
Mr. Rajapaksa concluded his remarks by urging the delegates at the conference to continue the important dialogue on maritime security and to promote a greater and more effective cooperative security network in the region.
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SOURCE Ministry of Defense of the Government of Sri Lanka