Naval Amity

Dec 12, 2010 (LBO) – Warships from foreign navies, including India, joined Sri Lanka’s navy in a sail past Saturday amid improving maritime security co-operation to combat crimes on the high seas like human and arms smuggling. The Chinese navy sent the frigate ‘Lanzhou’ and Pakistan the frigate ‘Zulfiqar’ while the navies of Iran, Thailand and Bangladesh sent smaller warships for the sail past to mark the Sri Lankan navy’s 60th anniversary.

Sri Lanka navy chief Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe has said growing co-operation with foreign navies, both in the region and afar, is helping to combat human and arms smuggling in Indian Ocean waters.

Tamil refugees using boats to seek asylum in Australia and Canada became an issue in recent months and the navy has stepped up patrols to prevent boats leaving Sri Lankan shores, forcing would-be migrants to transit through countries like Thailand.

Talks with regional navies and maritime security forums has helped established direct communications between naval chiefs that enable quicker action to deal with issues like people smuggling and poaching, Samarasinghe said.

Samarasinghe has s