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Oversight Committee Highlights National Oceanic Affairs for Strategic Economic Activities

January 17, Colombo (LNW): The Sectoral Oversight Committee (SOC) on International Relations recently convened to address matters concerning the National Oceanic Affairs Committee Secretariat, an entity affiliated with the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Under the chairmanship of MP Akila Ellawala, the committee discussed the current role, challenges faced, and future plans of the National Oceanic Affairs Committee Secretariat.

Dr. N. P. Vijayananda, the current Chairman of the Secretariat, highlighted the potential utilization of a sea area extending 250 nautical miles beyond the exclusive economic zone, which is 200 nautical miles from the country’s land. Dr. Vijayananda emphasized that, according to the United Nations Charter on the Law of the Sea, agreements with regional countries, including ongoing negotiations with India, are necessary for such activities. The discussed oceanic region holds significance for Sri Lanka in terms of fuel exploration and biodiversity.

In response to these discussions, the Committee Chair stressed the importance of expediting these activities in coordination with the Defence Ministry. He expressed the intention to formally request the Minister in charge of the subject to facilitate the necessary actions.

The meeting, attended by Committee members and MPs Madhura Withanage, S. M. M. Mushaaraff, as well as officials representing the Foreign Affairs Ministry, emphasized the strategic importance of leveraging oceanic resources for economic activities in Sri Lanka.

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