President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said coordination and cooperation will be required to counter the threat posed by religious extremism and terrorism in countries in the region.
The President said extremist and terrorist ideology can spread with ease from nation to nation unless carefully monitored and suppressed.
The President made these remarks delivering the Inaugural Address at the Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), yesterday (04).
While stating that it must be admitted that the Indian Ocean region is also the location of considerable criminal activity, including human smuggling, drugs smuggling, and terrorism,
President Rajapaksa said narcotics trafficking remains a significant problem for countries in this region and that this can only effectively be dismantled through coordinated efforts between the intelligence services, Coast Guards and Navies of regional countries.
He emphasized that everyone in the region should work together to revive the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
The measures taken worldwide to combat the pandemic, although they proved invaluable in saving countless lives, came at a steep cost. The rapid decline in economic activity these measures caused have had serious long-term consequences on global travel, trade, and economic growth.
The President pointed out that developing countries in particular have been very badly impacted by this and that this can only be achieved through the support provided by richer nations to developing countries.
The President said the COVID-19 pandemic will not end until everyone, everywhere is inoculated against the virus and requested the nations with capabilities to provide assistance to underprivileged nations to make their vaccination drives productive.
In contrast to the leadership provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the global pandemic response, no world institution has stepped forward to help countries navigate their economic recovery. Although the pandemic has affected rich and poor countries alike, a disproportionate impact is borne by poorer countries.
The President pointed out that the economies that are already burdened with external debt obligations are facing hardships and therefore, it would be greatly appreciated if more action could be taken by wealthy nations as well as multilateral organisations to forgive, restructure, or grant moratoria for the debt repayments of poorer countries struggling in the wake of the pandemic.
As the pandemic has shown, adverse situations in one country can quickly have ramifications on the wider region and eventually on the globe itself. That is why the countries across the region and the world at large must work together to solve problems that affect nations, whether in terms of epidemics, economy, or ecology