US to give Sri Lanka $39mn in maritime security aid
ECONOMYNEXT – The United States government is to give Sri Lanka about $39 million in Foreign Military Financing under its Bay of Bengal maritime security initiative, the US embassy in Colombo said.
The US is to hold talks with the Sri Lankan government on how the funds, which are pending Congressional approval, can support its Bay of Bengal initiative and Sri Lanka’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response priorities.
The funding is part of $300 million in additional funding intended for South and Southeast Asia announced by the US earlier this month under the administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, a statement said.
The US Secretary of State traveled to Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia last week for bilateral and multilateral meetings to advance the security of the United States and the region, it said.
The talks were also to “underscore our support for a rules-based order, reaffirm our commitment to friends and allies, and demonstrate the robust engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” it said.
“As part of the maritime security theme, we launched the Bay of Bengal Initiative to help enhance the capacity of civilian and military maritime actors in this vital region, which is home to important sea lanes linking the Indian Ocean to East Asia.”
The statement said the funding represents a significant investment in American security relationships with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Pacific islands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and others.
“The investment focuses on four key areas that are critical to ensuring a free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.
“This includes maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response, also peacekeeping capabilities and countering transnational crime.”
(COLOMBO, 13 August, 2018)