General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University hosts the third discussion on naval cooperation

The third KDU-CNA Track 1.5 Dialogue on naval cooperation was held on July 24th and 25th, 2018 at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU). The two-day dialogue is a collaborative initiative between KDU and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), United States of America (USA). This year’s Track 1.5 Dialogue focused on how bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the United States of America could be further improved in a variety of spheres and how the global security concerns are influencing the relations between the two countries.

Track 1.5 diplomacy is an initiative to bring together government and non-governmental actors to discuss on a variety of topics that could improve the bilateral relations of countries. As such, this two-day deliberation witnessed the participation of analysts and academics along with naval officials from the navies of both the participating countries for a candid discussion. Held under the Chatham House Rule, this year’s Dialogue included four main sessions, with the fifth and final session being a wrap-up session with the speakers providing forward-looking, implementable suggestions for both Sri Lanka and the United States.

Commenting on the initiative, Vice Chancellor, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rear Admiral Jagath Ranasinghe stated, “The KDU-CNA Track 1.5 Dialogue is a one-of-a-kind discussion that we organise here at KDU, facilitating interaction between the navies of Sri Lanka and the United States, along with the participation of relevant academics. We started this three years ago, and it has now come to be a constant in our event calendars. I am delighted to witness the progress and the contribution we have made during these discussions over the past three years to improve the maritime bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.”

The KDU-CNA Track 1.5 Dialogue which commenced in 2016 was held for the third consecutive year. Having commenced as a single day’s discussion, the Track 1.5 Dialogue has now evolved into a two-day seminar with more speakers and participants. This year’s discussion was further significant as it opened the naval deliberations to the Army and the Air Force and the Ministry of Defence.

Participants from KDU included Rear Admiral Jagath Ranasinghe – Vice Chancellor; Senior Professor Amal Jayawardane – Senior Professor, Department of Strategic Studies, Dr. Sithara Fernando – Senior Lecturer, Department of Strategic Studies and Lecturer, Ms. Bhagya Senaratne – Department of Strategic Studies. Participants from Sri Lanka Navy included Rear Admiral Piyal de Silva – Chief of Staff; Commodore Priyantha Perera – Deputy Area Commander of North Central Naval Command; and Commodore Anura Danapala – Director of Logistic Management Cell. Major General Roshan Seneviratne – General Officer Command 51 Division represented Sri Lanka Army and Air Commodore Sampath Wickramarathne – Senior Air Staff Officer, Directorate of Air Operations represented Sri Lanka Air Force. Participants from the Center for Naval Analyses included Vice Admiral (retd.) Michael T. Franken – Senior Fellow, Ms. Nilanthi Samaranayake – Strategic Studies Analyst and Mr. Alexander Powell – Senior Research Specialist. Captain Gregory P. St. Pierre – Chief of International Plans and Policy at United States Pacific Fleet represented the United States Navy.