SLN, USN talks conclude on successful note

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The third edition of Navy-to- Navy Staff Talks between the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and the United States Navy (USN), held at the Navy Headquarters over two days, concluded on a successful note recently.

Staff Talks between USN and SLN began in 2016 to establish opportunities for increased interoperability, cooperation, mutual understanding and partnerships in their efforts to overcome common maritime challenges. After a long break of four years since 2017, the two Navies were able to open up avenues to reconnect through the third edition.

The SLN delegation for this year’s staff talks was led by Director General Operations, Rear Admiral Prasanna Mahawithana and the USN delegation was headed by Deputy Commander Seventh Fleet, Rear Admiral Robert T. Clark. In addition, a group of officials from the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka and USN Seventh Fleet attended the third SLN-USN staff talks.

During the discussions held on 22 March, the progress of the previous edition of staff talks was reviewed. New agenda points proposed by the SLN pertinent to operation, training and technical support between the two Navies were discussed at length before the third edition.

The Joint Maritime Talks were attended by the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, US Pacific Fleet and US Pacific Air Forces. The discussions on the second day mainly focused on the exchange of ideas on the expansion of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), information sharing and Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE).

Director General Operations, Rear Admiral Prasanna Mahawithana from the Sri Lanka Navy, Director Air Operations, Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa from the Sri Lanka Air Force, Vice Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, Rear Admiral Robert T. Clark, Air National Assistant to Commander Pacific Air Forces, Major General David B. Burgy and a group of officers from all stakeholders took part in the Joint Maritime Talks.

Meanwhile, the Director General Operations of the Sri Lanka Navy, Rear Admiral Prasanna Mahawithana was grateful to the US Navy for its significant contribution to the development of skills of the Sri Lanka Navy’s 4th Fast Attack Flotilla and elite forces. Staff Talks of this nature between like-minded partners in the maritime fraternity will pave the way to overcome common challenges and find sustainable solutions in the future, SLN spokesman said.