NSA Ajit Doval meets Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, opposition leaders

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Colombo, Dec 2: National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Tuesday called on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and met other top leaders from across the political spectrum, ahead of next month's crucial presidential polls.

Discussing bilateral relations with Rajapaksa at the President's House here, Doval expressed satisfaction on the quality and range of relations between Sri Lanka and India. President Rajapaksa and Doval also discussed ways to further strengthen ties.

NSA Ajit Doval

High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka YK Sinha and several other senior officials accompanied Doval. Minister of External Affairs Prof GL Peiris was also present at the meeting with the President.

Apart from meeting Rajapaksa, Doval held discussions with Peiris and the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapkasa. Doval also met several political party leaders yesterday.

He met joint opposition candidate in Sri Lanka's polls Maithripala Sirisena, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and leaders of the main Tamil party Tamil National Alliance. He also delivered the keynote address yesterday at the inaugural session of Galle Dialogue that has attracted representation from more than 60 countries around the world.

The inaugural Galle Dialogue in 2010 was held with the participation of about a dozen countries. Cooperation and collaboration among nations for maritime security were vital for the region instead of facing present security threats in the Indian Ocean as individually, Doval said in Galle.

He said that there were several maritime threats to the nations around the Indian Ocean. "We are facing several maritime threats at present including smuggling, piracy and human trafficking," Doval was quoted as saying by the Island.

He said that the regional maritime routes were used by terrorists. Doval said that sea and maritime security are important for interdependence of states.

He said the Indian Ocean has got one of the longest histories and it has provided the connectivity to world's largest civilizations. The National Security Advisor said the Galle Dialogue would be a much greater achievement in time to come as seas are becoming important and interdependence is going to be a greater value with economies coming closer.

Indian Ocean remains the ocean of peace that could be optimally utilised for the purposes of trade and commerce, he said. The seminar discusses issues related to terrorism, piracy, drug smuggling and human trafficking. This is Doval's first visit to the island.

Rajapaksa is seeking a record-third term after announcing snap polls set for January.

PTI

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