Remarks by Prasad Kariyawasam, Foreign Secretary at the Official Reception hosted by the Commander of the Navy on the occasion of the Galle Dialogue 2017 on 9 October 2017


Statement (PDF)


Remarks by

Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam, Foreign Secretary


Importance of the Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference


the Contribution of the Sri Lanka Navy towards Greater Maritime Visibility for Enhanced Maritime Security


At the Official Reception hosted by the Commander of the Navy

on the occasion of the Galle Dialogue 2017


Monday 9 October 2017


Chief of Defence Staff,
Commanders of the Navy, Army and Air Force,
Distinguished delegates and guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the 8th successive year in which the Galle Dialogue Maritime Conference is being held in Sri Lanka, attracting to our Island Nation, personnel from Navies both near and far, and academics and experts in maritime affairs.

I thank and congratulate Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah and his extraordinary team in the Sri Lanka Navy, for organizing this year’s Conference, and for continuing this wonderful tradition that has come to stay. For many, this has now become an annual event to look forward to.

I am personally drawn to this Conference just by its title for two reasons. “Galle” is my hometown. But not just only that. Galle is a city that has played an important role in Sri Lanka’s maritime interactions, in turn influencing the very history of our nation.

For instance,

oOur first contact with the United States probably took place when an American Merchant Ship called at the Galle Harbour somewhere around the same time that the new American Republic adopted its Constitution.

oGalle is said to be the port from which King Solomon reportedly received ivory and peacocks.

oRecorded history tells us that Galle was a prominent sea port through which Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Malays, Indians and the Chinese were all conducting business with our Island Nation.

oIn 1411, a stone tablet was erected in Galle in three languages – Chinese, Tamil, and Persian – to commemorate the second visit to Sri Lanka by the Chinese admiral Zheng He.

oThe modern history of Galle, which has left a deep impact on our country, is said to have begun with a small fleet of Portuguese ships, being blown off course by a storm, finding their way to Galle. The rest is well-known with an impressive Dutch Fort still standing as a symbol of that part of our history.

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