India, Sri Lanka commission maritime rescue centre to boost security ties

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on a day’s visit to the island nation, jointly unveiled the virtual plaque to mark the formal commissioning of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Sri Lanka.

The centre will be built under a $6 million grant from India as part of efforts to boost maritime security partnership in New Delhi’s southern neighbourhood.

This includes a centre at Navy headquarters in Colombo, a sub-centre in Hambantota and unmanned installations at Galle, Arugambay, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kallarawa, Point Pedro and Mollikulam, according to a statement by the Sri Lankan government.

A sub-centre of the MRCC has been constructed in the Sri Lankan city of Hambantota, where the port is managed by China.

The MRCC “underscores the deepening maritime security cooperation between India and Sri Lanka,” added the statement.

Wickremesinghe and Jaishankar also jointly unveiled the virtual plaque for 106 houses in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Matale under the Indian Housing Project with 24 houses in each model village in Colombo and Trincomalee being handed over virtually.

The trip to Sri Lanka was Jaishankar’s standalone bilateral visit after he assumed charge as the External Affairs Minister for the second term on June 11.

Wickremesinghe was among the seven top leaders from India’s neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region who attended the swearing in ceremony of PM Modi on June 9.

During his visit to Colombo, Jaishankar also held meetings with the Sri Lankan foreign minister Ali Sabry, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.