“A Shared Vision for the Indo-Pacific” Conference General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and U.S. Embassy Colombo Joint Press Release

Colombo, March 31, 2022: On March 31, the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, hosted “A Shared Vision for the Indo-Pacific” conference on regional perspectives on economic, political, and security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.  U.S. Ambassador Julie J. Chung gave opening remarks, and U.S. State Department Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu delivered the keynote address. 


Welcoming the guests, Major General Milinda Peiris, Vice Chancellor of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka stated: “The Indo-Pacific is increasingly a focus of international geopolitical attention due to the rising influence of both China and India. As Sri Lanka’s only defence University and our commitment to develop a robust research culture, I deem forums such as this are imperative in charting a way forward in bridging the Policy Academic research nexus.”


In her remarks, Ambassador Chung stated that “Sri Lanka, with its key geostrategic location next to vital shipping lanes, has a key leadership role in the Indo-Pacific in which it should take real pride.” Ambassador Chung described the U.S. vision as a shared vision, built on “many decades of partnership across the region” for an Indo-Pacific that is “Free and Open, Connected, Prosperous, Resilient, and Secure.”


Regional experts from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Singapore, Nepal, as well as U.S. speakers, including the Senior Advisor to Assistant Secretary Lu, Afreen Akhter, U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia, Änjali Kaur, and Director of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (Ret.) Peter A. Gumataotao, participated in panel discussions moderated by Senior Fellow with the Asia Society Policy Institute in Delhi, India, Professor C. Raja Mohan. Head, Department of Strategic Studies – Dr. Harinda Vidanage and Senior Lecturer, Department of Strategic Studies – Dr. Bhagya Senaratne represented General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University at the seminar.


Held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, the conference was attended in-person and virtually by over 300 participants.