In a bid to counter China’s expansion in Indo-Pacific region, National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval is all set to head to Colombo on Friday. His visit to Columbo will be aimed at striking a discussion on maritime security cooperation with Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Ahead of the visit, the Ministry of External Affairs has said that the trilateral meeting between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives will serve as an effective platform for cooperation between Indian Ocean countries.

Interestingly, today’s meeting is touted as the first NSA level meeting on Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation. Last discussion on maritime security cooperation between Indian Ocean countries was held six years ago-2011 in the Maldives, in 2013 in Sri Lanka, and in 2014 in India.

Reports say NSA Doval will be meeting Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Columbo. Talks on possible defence agreements and several topics of mutual interests are also likely.

The trilateral meeting assumes greater significance especially at a time when China is flexing its muscles in Indo-Pacific region. Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a meeting with Quad foreign ministers, had expressed that India is committed to upholding the rules-based international order in Indo-Pacific and advancing security and economic interests of all countries.