Although a date has not been fixed, the Sri Lanka Navy said yesterday that it is now prepared to send a deployment to the Red Sea to assist in defending shipping lanes from Houthi activities, once the government greenlights and authorizes the deployment.
Navy spokesperson Capt. Gayan Wickramasinghe told the Daily Mirror that discussions are still underway at higher levels regarding the Red Sea deployment, but the Sri Lanka Navy is ready. “We are now on standby to send our deployment to the Red Sea at any time,” he said.
On January 3, during an event, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the government would deploy a Navy vessel to the Red Sea to safeguard shipping lanes. He said that the disruption of these lanes would lead to increased freight charges and cargo costs, affecting import prices in the country. President Wickremesinghe said that the government is committed to contributing to stability in the region.
The President had earlier acknowledged that deploying a vessel would cost the government Rs. 250 million every fortnight. Following the announcement, the Navy conducted a feasibility study on the deployment. The Navy earlier said that logistical supplies and a robust weapon outfit need to be arranged before the deployment.
Commenting on the latest development, the Navy spokesperson said, “We will send a vessel once the discussions and a date are finalized. The date is likely to be finalized following discussions involving top-level officials in the government, the Commander of the Navy, and consultation with other navies deployed in the Red Sea.”
The United States and Britain have been conducting airstrikes against the Iranian-allied Houthi group in Yemen, which has been targeting civilian ships in the Red Sea for weeks in protest against Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip. In the latest military joint effort against the Houthi group, New Zealand announced yesterday that it will deploy a six-member defence team to the Middle East as part of an international coalition to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea.
source daily mirror