Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says Indian Ocean Region is set to define the destiny of the world in 21st Century and the geopolitical turn of events in the Indian Ocean has made it the ‘Ocean of the Future’. Speaking at the Indian Ocean Conference 2018 in Hanoi, Vietnam on Monday the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka said the Indian Ocean zone is nurtured by civilization, culture, values and international standards and all stakeholders should unite to ensure peace and free naval movement and security of the Indian Ocean.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the world community can benefit a lot through collaboration than competition and the golden opportunity to create a better world replete with affluence and equality should not be neglected. The main factor in taking those forward is the Indian Ocean.
Elaborating on trade that goes back to few centuries in the history of the Indian Ocean, the Premier said there were a range of evidence about the free trade based on naval means in the Indian Ocean region and emphasized that differences based on races and cultures did not matter in trade those times.
The Premier emphasized that it is compulsory to create a better future while securing the traditional heritage of trade in the Indian Ocean.Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Pharm Bin Min, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivien Balakrishnan and Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav also addressed the inaugural ceremony of the summit.
The two-day summit saw the attendance of 280 delegates representing 48 countries.On the sideline of the conference, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe met with several leaders in the region including Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Pharm Binh Minh, and Singapore Foreign Minister Vivien Balakrishnan.
The Premier also met with n Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. State Department, Alice Wells at the Sheraton Hotel of Hanoi. The American diplomat pointed out that the Indian Ocean Conference is an initiative that paves the way to reap an array of advantages for the region. The Premier exchanged views with the top ranking U.S. official over the latest trends in economic, political and social fronts that affect the region and the globe.
Foreign Minister of Singapore, Vivian Balakrishnan also met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Hanoi. The Singaporean Foreign Minister highlighted that though some elements are trying to demonize things, the general public needs job opportunities and a better life.He also pointed out that Singapore learned many lessons from Sri Lanka in the past. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that due to narrow political objectives and personal agendas, Sri Lanka underwent many hardships and drawbacks in the past. The Premier said that the current government based on good governance policies aims to reverse the regressive march of the country and make the island nation the most prosperous place in the Indian Ocean. The Premier and the Singaporean Minister discussed about how social media and traditional media are being used to propagate gossips and irrelevant content worldwide.
Minister, Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Saman Ekanayake were also part of the Sri Lankan delegation.