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NEW DELHI: The ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy participated in the first-ever Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) Focused Operation to enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean region, along with Sri Lanka and the Maldives, a statement from the Indian Navy said on Sunday. The two-day conclave concluded on Sunday.

During the conclave, exercises were conducted between the lead maritime security agencies of India, Maldives and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean region.

“Ships and aircraft of Indian Navy (IN), Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) are participating and operating over a vast area in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the three countries in Southern Arabian Sea," read the statement released by the Indian Navy.

“The conduct of ‘CSC Focused Operation’ exemplifies the deep trilateral engagement between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, and emphasises their commitment to promote peace, and security in the region," the statement said.

India considers itself as a major regional power in the Indian Ocean region, with New Delhi building its profile as the net security provider, besides taking the lead in extending humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to several countries including Madagascar, Mozambique and Comoros besides Maldives and Sri Lanka. In June, the Sri Lankan Navy, Airforce and the Indian Coast Guard jointly doused a fire on MV X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged cargo ship.

India has also been increasing its presence in the Indo-Pacific region with partners such as Japan, US and Australia. The four countries together are known as the Quad and have held naval exercises in the Indian Ocean region as part of the Malabar series for two years in a row. The leaders of the four countries have met twice— virtually in March and at an in-person meeting hosted by the US in September. Indian Naval ships have also been conducting coordinated patrols with countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.

According to reports, the Deputy National Security Advisors of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives had met to discuss maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region on 4 August.

The three countries had also previously pooled in military resources to participate in a trilateral Table Top Exercise in July this year. During the exercise, top defence officials of the countries had discussed the best practices and procedures for countering common transnational maritime crimes involving narcotics, among others.

Meanwhile, the CSC Focused Operation which concluded on Sunday aimed at keeping the vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping, international trade and conduct of legitimate maritime activities.

“The focused operation would help build understanding and interoperability between the lead maritime security agencies, and facilitate institution of measures to prevent and suppress transnational crimes in the region," the Indian Navy statement said.

 

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