Indian Ocean security at stake –Hakeem

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Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader, MP Rauff Hakeem urged the Government of Sri Lanka and other States and stakeholders not to compromise the vision of the Indian Ocean by allowing the passage and docking of warships or naval craft such as the research and survey vessel ‘Yuan Wang 5’ that is arriving from China soon.

The MP said the media reports show concerns about the potential docking of the ‘Yuan Wang 5’ in a Sri Lankan port.

According to reports, the vessel would conduct satellite control and research tracking in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean region. The space-tracking vessel operating a space-ground information exchange especially provided significant data support to Zhongxing-2E satellite’s orbit determination and entry and has now passed sailing Taiwan towards Hambantota in Sri Lanka. The vessel’s visit has raised concerns for India.

The position of the SLMC on warships, military or naval craft being allowed into Sri Lankan waters is based on the broad principles of national sovereignty, international peace and security, and non-alignment, he added.

“The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress continues to advocate for the vision of the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace. This vision, which was promoted by Sri Lanka during the Cold War period, in our view is more relevant today than ever before.

“We envision and remain committed to working with all progressive sections of the wider Indian Ocean community to ensure that we take all practical and meaningful steps to make the Indian Ocean safe and secure at all times, in which peaceful navigation and economic activities beneficial to littoral states take place, contributing to the stability and prosperity of all states.”

He said the Indian Ocean mission and movement are perceived to not manifest the spirit at any times, under any circumstances, and by any party.

“In this context, it is also pertinent to note that Sri Lankan leaders have given repeated assurances that nothing inimical to the security of India will be permitted within the territory or territorial waters of Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is now the responsibility of the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that it takes all meaningful measures necessary to realise these objectives.”

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan