Maritime Security in the Bay of Bengal Symposium, Colombo 2023

24 Mar 2023

The Royal United Services Institute, UK, in partnership with the Pathfinder Foundation, Sri Lanka has organized the Maritime Security the Bay of Bengal Symposium on Friday 24 March at The Galle Face Hotel, Colombo. HE Sarah Hulton OBE, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka delivered the keynote address during the opening remarks of the symposium. Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of Pathfinder Foundation, delivered the welcome address.


The conference brought together policymakers, practitioners, academics, and the private sector to discuss some of the mutual challenges facing the region within the maritime security domain. Professor Rasheduzzaman, Lead Researcher of BIMRAD, and Nur Ahmed, Research Officer of BIMRAD researchers presented the findings from the research conducted over the past six months in collaboration with RUSI. A distinguished panel commented on the research findings at the symposium.


The symposium was divided into four sessions focusing on the following topics:


  • Session One: Illegal and Forced Migration - the challenge of human-trafficking and other maritime crime
  • Session Two: Illegal fishing - the challenges with monitoring and tracking illegal activities across the region
  • Session Three: Climate change and Environmental Protection - impacts of sea-level rise, natural disasters, pollution and plastics in the sea
  • Session Four: The future of regional cooperation – the role of regional actors in promoting regional cooperation to tackle maritime security challenges in the region


Partners from India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka also presented their views and commented on the research findings. The discussion at the symposium produced some captivating ideas about identifying how countries can best align their responses against maritime security challenges in this region.