The National Security Advisor (NSA) level Trilateral meets are an effective platform for cooperation among these Indian Ocean countries

The 4th National Security Advisor (NSA) level Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Cooperation between India, Sri Lanka, and Maldives held in Colombo on Saturday resolved to strengthen intelligence sharing and also focus on issues like terrorism, radicalization, money laundering, and cyber security.

The three countries took stock of the current maritime security environment with the objective of promoting meaningful cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region on common issues.

According to the joint press statement issued after the meeting, "they discussed mutual cooperation in the areas of Maritime Domain Awareness, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Joint Exercises, Capacity Building, Maritime Security and Threats, Maritime Pollution, and Maritime Underwater Heritage".

The meeting was attended by India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Didi, and Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne.

The proceedings of the trilateral meeting were formalized through signing of the minutes by all three of them.

Mauritius and Seychelles participated in the meet virtually at the Senior Officers' level. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was the Chief Guest at the meeting.

The 4th National Security Advisor (NSA) level Trilateral Meeting was held in the backdrop of continuing border tensions between India and China and amid the latter's attempts to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean Region.

Earlier trilateral meetings were held in 2011 in Maldives, in 2013 in Sri Lanka, and in 2014 in India.

These meetings have served as an effective platform for cooperation among Indian Ocean countries.

According to the joint press statement, the past deliberations and outcomes have "helped the three countries in improving close coordination in maritime security of the region".

It has also been decided that the Deputy NSA level working group meetings that are held to ensure sustained engagement will now be a biannual affair.

Earlier, after his arrival in Colombo on Friday, NSA Doval called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's greetings. He also used the opportunity to recall the successful Virtual Bilateral Summit between the two leaders that contributed to a progress in bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

He met Mariya Didi and the two held a detailed discussion on deepening bilateral partnership in defence and security between India and the Maldives.

He also met the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary and the two took up matters relating to the growing defence and security partnership between the two countries.

According to the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, they agreed on several steps "to further strengthen the valuable cooperation between two countries which also contributes to peace and security in the region".