The Indian Ocean will be a major theatre of competition, but the multiplicity of contestants gives us – in the region – a margin of flexibility, which we must utilize to determine the regional order, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said.
Speaking at the Indian Ocean Conference he added, “We must commit ourselves to an order based on the rights of all States to the freedom of navigation – the unimpeded lawful maritime commerce and over-flight.
“Our own futures and the futures of our extra regional partners are therefore heavily invested in how strategic security is managed in the region. Many countries remain dependent on energy supplies and traded goods that are carried across the region.
“Tt is time for Indian Ocean countries especially Asian nations to take the lead in determining their own future. It is our belief that an Indian Ocean Order needs to be crafted with accepted rules and agreements that would guide interactions between states.”