Fulfilling a long-felt need in the country, Border Risk Assessment Centre (BRAC) in Sri Lanka was ceremonially inaugurated on Monday (Dec 20) at the Suhurupaya building complex in Battaramulla.
The event was graced by Australian Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews and Sri Lanka’s Minister of Irrigation, State Minister of National Security and Disaster Management and State Minister of Home Affairs, Chamal Rajapaksa.
According to the Defence Ministry, the BRAC was established as part of Sri Lanka’s Integrated Border Management (IBM) strategy under the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka with technical support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funding assistance (US$ 5 Million) from the government of Australia.
The BRAC in Sri Lanka was established under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in order to facilitate a new intelligence platform directly under the Ministry of Defence which will allow Sri Lankan Border Management agencies to share their collective intelligence, systems, resources, and real-time data to enable lawful travel and trade while detecting and responding to unlawful activities.
Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka David Holly, Sri Lanka’s Secretary to Defence Ministry and Secretary to State Ministry of National Security and Disaster Management Kamal Gunaratne, Assistant Commissioner of Australian Federal Police Nigel Ryan and Acting First Assistant Secretary of International Division in Australian Department of Home Affairs Adam Meyer were also present at the inaugural ceremony.
Minister Chamal Rajapaksa and his Australian counterpart Karen Andrews unveiled a plaque at the outset to signify the inauguration of BRAC in Sri Lanka.
Along with the increasing numbers of people and goods crossing borders, countries have shifted to IBM systems for improved detection of cross border risks and as a measure to save costs incurred by running multiple systems.
IBM is a concept that contains greater coordination and cooperation between border agencies.
A total of 11 organizations involving cross border undertakings in the island are stakeholders of the BRAC in Sri Lanka and it would be operated 24/7 in order to ensure enhanced border management through strong inter-agency cooperation.
The Defence Secretary presented mementoes to Hon. Karen Andrews and Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa to mark the memorable occasion.
The opening ceremony was held in keeping with the stipulated healthcare guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Deputy High Commissioner of Australia to Sri Lanka Amanda Jewell, Public Security Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis (Retd), Controller General of Department of Immigration and Emigration Sarath Rupasiri, Chief of National Intelligence Maj. Gen. Ruwan Kulatunga (Retd), Deputy Controller General of Department of Immigration and Emigration Bandula Harischandra, Chief of Mission – IOM Sarat Dash, Director, BRAC Brig. Rajith Elvitigala, Senior Lecturer – Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa Chathura De Silva, Head of Migration Management of IOM (Sri Lanka) Shantha Kulasekara and National Programme Officer/BRAC IOM Liaison Tharindu Jayawardhane were also among the distinguished invitees.