March 1, 2021
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Expanding horizons
Naval diplomacy with Island nations Though the third NSA level meeting of India, Sri Lanka and Maldives has not attracted much media attention unlike the similar meetings between India, Japan and USA, but this has the potential of silently expanding India’s footprint in the Indian Ocean. The three countries have agreed to form a cooperative structure for maritime security cooperation. In its third year of infancy, the trilateral meeting has been able to generate interest in other island nations like Seychelles and Mauritius who attended the New Delhi 6th March, 2014 meeting and confirmed that the next NSA level meeting would be a five nation agenda to promote peace and stability in the Indian Ocean.  The Indian national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon led the Indian delegation while the Sri Lankan security team was led by Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and the Maldivian Defence Minister Col (Retd) Mohammad Nazim represented his country. It is significant that the four island nations have joined the maritime bandwagon under India’s leadership, though India has obviously projected itself as equal participant. This will obviously widen the joint maritime security responsibility of the Island nations along with India who will coordinate with each other in keeping this area free of non state actors. Obviously the State actors will also notice this area falling under the joint maritime command of fi
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