A smallboat crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne approaches a 65-foot Haitian-flagged vessel in distress on June 1 about 65 miles north of Haiti.

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi on Wednesday completed his five-day official visit to Sri Lanka aimed at strengthening naval ties between the two countries and offering help to the island nation in combating organised transnational crime at sea.

Admiral Abbasi, according to Pakistan Navy, during his stay in Colombo met Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary retired major general Kamal Gunaratne and three Sri Lankan services chiefs.

During his various meetings, Admiral Abbasi offered help in fighting drug trafficking and human smuggling activities, increase in intelligence sharing, and greater cooperation between Pakistan Maritime Security Agency and Sri Lanka’s coast guards.

Pakistan will also assist Sri Lanka Navy in repair of hovercraft and develop a library at its proposed National Defence College.

The naval chief emphasised upon Pakistan Navy’s focused efforts to combat maritime terrorism including piracy and drug trafficking and various peace initiatives including Regional Maritime Security Patrol (RMSP), according to PN’s public affairs directorate.

It said that both sides, during the meetings, agreed on further enhancing interaction in diverse fields of military collaboration.

“It is expected that the current visit of Chief of the Naval Staff would greatly augment the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in general and the two navies in particular,” it added.

A military source said that Pakistan Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan will visit Sri Lanka next month.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2020