Sri Lanka moves to protect Indian Ocean submarine cables

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Sri Lanka has kicked off a Submarine Cable Protection and Resilience Framework in partnering with the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), an industry body, and the United Nations.

In Sri Lanka, the framework was developed by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and the Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change Division of the Foreign Ministry.

Technical assistance was given by ICPC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – Global Maritime Crimes Programme (GMCP) with funding from Japan.

Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage said Sri Lanka started on the framework having understood the threats and responsibilities of having several cables running through its jurisdiction.

Programme Coordinator of UNODC – GMCP Kaitlin Meredith UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/73/124, 31 December, 2018) underscored the responsibility of States, whose economies and societies are served by these cables, to contribute to the protection of cables.

Sri Lanka

“UNODC values the continued leadership of Sri Lanka in the development of its national framework, as well as in the sphere of maritime security more broadly,” Merdith was quoted as saying.

“UNODC is looking forward to the continued partnership with Sri Lanka as we can begin to export some of the good practices and lessons learned to the region.”

Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Oshada Senanayake said the implementation of the framework will improve the resilience of the cable network and also help position SL as a technology hub.

Enabling legislation is in the pipeline.
Director General, Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change of the Foreign Ministry Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake said Submarine Cables should be declared as ‘critical infrastructure’.

The experience of SL is expected to be share with other Indian Ocean Rim nations.

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