Local News Update: Over 100 top-rung delegates, comprised of defence officials, high-ranking military officers, security think-tanks, research experts and non-governmental experts from more than 25 countries who met in Singapore at the 8th IISS Fullerton Forum, known as the ‘Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting’ during the past three days (20-22 January) sought ways to ensure security, safety, and stability in the region.
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, acting Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army as one of the few key delegates, together with Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Commander of the Navy, participated in the sessions representing Sri Lanka.
The Forum commenced with the keynote speech, delivered by Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Mr Heng Chee How who emphasized on the topic, ‘Countries should seek ways to maintain multilateralism and should endeavour to strengthen multilateral processes and institutions’.
Lieutenant General Silva also had the rare distinction of having bilateral interactions with Singapore’s Senior Minister of State Mr Heng Chee How, Deputy Director, IISS, High Ranking military officers and intellectuals from New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Pakistan and Malaysia on the sidelines of four main sessions during the Forum in Singapore.
This annual forum provides an opportunity for world-wide senior defence officials, high-ranking military officers and non-governmental experts to discuss key regional security issues. Around 75 delegates took part in the 8th edition of the Fullerton Forum. The forum concluded on Wednesday (22).
Delegates continued follow-up discussions, begun at the 2019 IISS Shangri-La Dialogue of vitally important regional security questions, including how nations could protect their interests while avoiding conflict, the implications of regional developments for counter-terrorism strategies, how security challenges at sea can be managed most effectively, and how states may find common ground on security challenges.
The four sessions, providing insight on the evolving defence and security concerns that need to be addressed were themed under ‘Challenges of Missile Proliferation and Missile Defence in Asia after the INF Treaty’, ‘Protection of Maritime Interests and Freedoms’, ‘Policy Implications of New Technologies of Conflict’ and ‘Development of Inclusive Regional Security Arrangements’ and included several interactive, bilateral and multilateral meetings.
The Fullerton Forum alias Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), held since 2002 is a “Track One” inter-governmental security forum, held annually by the independent think-tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which is attended by worldwide defence ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs. The summit serves to cultivate a sense of community among the most important policymakers in the defence and security spheres in the region. Government delegations have made the best out of the meeting by holding bilateral meetings with other delegations on the sidelines of the conference. The Fullerton Forum is also attended by legislators, academic experts, distinguished journalists and business delegates.