Meets U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Chiefs

Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy was a distinguished participant at the 16th International Seapower Symposium Oct. 26 - 29 at the Naval War College hosted by the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark for the heads of Navies around the world. More than 150 delegates from 71 countries attended this unique event. Some countries were also represented by the head of their coast guard and the president of their Naval War College. This year's theme was "Sea Power for Peace, Prosperity and Security."

Admiral Sandagiri was invited by the US Navy in the light of the burgeoning defence relationship between the two countries. Sri Lanka is due to take delivery of a 210 foot Cutter formerly used by the United States Coast Guard soon. Admiral Sandagiri met with the US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark and a host of top US Navy and Coast Guard officials including Admiral Thomas H. Collins, Commandant of the Coast Guard during the symposium. During his meeting with Admiral Clark, collaboration pertaining to training and equipment, amongst other matters, were discussed in detail. This follows the visit to Pacific Command (PACOM) in June 2003 by Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe who was accompanied by Vice Admiral Sandagiri. The visit paved the way for increased defence relations between the US and Sri Lanka.

The purpose of the symposium was to provide a forum for naval leaders from around the world to discuss common maritime challenges and enhance navy-to-navy cooperation. The International Seapower Symposium has commonly been a biennial affair since its inception in 1969. The 2001 event was cancelled due to the terrorist attacks on America.

"It is an honor for our Navy to host such a distinguished group of friends, allies and professionals committed to excellence in the maritime domain," Clark said. "In this era of globalization, nations thrive or flounder based on their access to markets. We assure that access for our respective countries - and our peace, prosperity, and security depend on our ability to fully exploit the maritime domain. This symposium is a forum that will better enable us to do just that.

The U.S. Naval War College established programs in 1956 and 1972 for international officers. A number of delegates attending this symposium are graduates of these programs. Sri Lanka Navy too sends senior naval officers to follow the Naval War College Course on a regular basis.

Founded on October 6, 1884, the Naval War College is the first military service institution in the world to be designated a war college. The Naval War College has a long and unique history of educating its students to make sound decisions in command and to develop a keen undertaking of naval strategy and management. At the War College, students are challenged to increase their professional skills, to prepare for increased command and management responsibilities, and to conduct advanced research in strategic and operational concepts.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

30 October 2003



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