Biennial Trilateral exercise “DOSTI” for stable Indian Ocean
The ongoing trilateral exercise between navies of three nation India, Sri Lanka and Maldives are underway in the Indian Ocean. This is the 15th edition of the trilateral exercise named “Dosti” held biennially.
This year marks the 30th anniversary, of the exercise. The exercise ‘Dosti’ was first initiated between the Indian and Maldives coast guard in 1991, after that it held once in two years.
For the first time in 2012, Sri Lankan forces joined the exercises which marks an important milestone thus making it a trilateral exercise.
Indian Coast guard vessels, ICGS Vajra, ICGS Apoorva and Sri Lanka Coast Guard Suraksha have arrived in the Maldives coast for the exercise.
Two ships from Indian Coast Guard, ICGS Samar and ICGS Rajdoot along with a Dornier aircraft, one ship from Sri Lankan CG, SLCG Samudra and two ships from MNDF CG, MCGS Huravee and Shaheed Ali will take part in the exercise.
These ships will practise responding to actual emergencies of Search and Rescue, Medical evacuation and Pollution Control response at Sea.
It will further enhance the ability of each Coast Guard to attend to real emergencies at sea.
Background of the exercise “DOSTI”:
The name ‘Dosti’ itself symbolizes the age-old friendship between three countries.
The joint military exercise since its inception has aimed at stability and security in Indian Ocean.
With its purpose to enhance the mutual operation capability, interoperability and build cooperation between the coast guards of Maldives, Sri Lanka and India.
The trilateral exercises carried out over the past 10 years focused on exercise and drills on assisting in sea accidents the responsibility on the coast guard on eliminating sea pollution and the coast guard’s procedure and conduct during situations such as oil spills.
Bilateral Relations between Indian, Sri Lanka and Maldives:
India and Sri Lanka Bilateral Aspect:
The bilateral relationship between Indian and Sri Lanka is more than 2500 years old, it is said to have started when Ashoka king of Mauryan empire sent his children to Sri Lanka in order to propagate ideals of Buddhism.
It then continued in chola empire when king Rajaraja chola was on his campaign to conquest the whole of south east and trade route and reach Sri Lanka or Ceylon ,
Finally his son Rajendra Chola conquered the Ceylon. He spreaded the southern culture there in Ceylon.
Therefore, both the countries share historical legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction.
In recent years the countries have made significant progress in implementation of developmental assistance of projects which have further cemented the relationship between the two countries.
Both the countries have also collaborated in the terrorism and in the field of maritime security for the proper surveillance of Indian Ocean.
Indian have helped Sri Lanka in delivering of various types of medicines of COVID-19 and also sent them COVID-19 vaccines as a confidence building measure and India’s principle of Vasudeva Kutumbakam.
Sri Lanka is among India’s largest trading partners in the SAARC countries with the net export from India to Sri Lanka is massive 6 billion US dollar
Whereas India’s import from Sri Lanka is 1 billion US dollar which makes India largest global trading partner of Sri Lanka.
India and Maldives Bilateral Relation:
- Indicating deepening security cooperation, an agreement to develop, support and maintain a Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard Harbour at Sifavaru was also signed.
- India will also support development of other infrastructure needed for the harbour, support the development of communications resources and radar services, and provide training.
- Agreed to convene the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, countering Violent Extremism and de- radicalisation at the earliest.
- A number of India-backed infrastructure projects including the National College of Policing and Law Enforcement Studies.
Trilateral Collaboration on Maritime Security in Indian Ocean:
It exemplifies the deep trilateral engagement between India-Maldives-Sri Lanka which has strengthened immensely in maritime domain over the past years.
Interaction between the three neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has also grown significantly.
In recent years, in consonance with India’s policy of Neighbourhood First and vision of Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR).
The three nations are also closely collaborating in the four areas which covers marine security, human trafficking, counter terrorism and cyber security.
- Indian needs to focus more on its traditional and cultural ties to improve relations with Sri Lanka.
- Starting of ferry services between India and Sri Lanka can improve people to people linkages.
- There needs a mutual recognition of each other concerns and interests which can further improve the relationship between both countries.
- India-Maldives defence cooperation will enhance India’s capability to monitor Chinese maritime and naval movements along vital sea lanes of communication that run alongside the Maldives.
- In accordance with Neighbourhood policy of the government, India remains a committed development partner for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Maldives.