|Defence ties should be further strengthened – Indian Defence Secy
Joint naval exercises in 2011
|Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 07.55 GMT
The prevailing good defence relationship between India and Sri Lanka should be further expanded and strengthened, Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar said.
While appreciating the good bilateral relations between the two countries he said the Defence Dialogue between India and Sri Lanka should be further expanded to include army and navy, the Indian Defence Secretary said when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning.
The decision to institute the mechanism of an annual Defence Dialogue was agreed during the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Mahinda Rajapaksa in June this year following which a programme has been launched to improve defence relations between the two countries.
It was agreed that the two countries will have a joint naval exercise in Sri Lankan waters in 2011.
Indian Defence Secretary informed President Rajapaksa that India will offer 1400 training placements for the Sri Lankan security service personnel.
On behalf of the Indian Air Force he accepted the invitation to participate in the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Sri Lankan Air Force next year.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa welcomed the continuing good relations between Sri Lanka and India and welcomed the initiatives to strengthen cooperation in defence relationship between the countries.
The Indian Defence Secretary emphasised the importance of ways of increasing service-to-service cooperation between the two countries.
Before leaving for Sri Lanka the Indian Defence Secretary has told Indian media that it is important that India and Sri Lanka have a framework for peacetime relationship. So far the two countries have had a wartime relationship, he has said.
The Indian Defence Secretary met External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday.
During his visit, the Indian Secretary will also pay homage to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) troops killed by the LTTE.
The Indian delegation headed by the Defence Secretary comprised with Smitha Nagaraj Joint Secretary (PIC), MOD, Shri TS Tirumurti Joint Secretary (BSM), MEA, Maj. Gen. Sumer Singh ADG MO(A), IHQ MOD (Army), Radm A Chawla ACNS (FCI) IHQ MOD (Navy), AVM BS Dhanoa ACAS (INT), Air Headquarters, DIG KR Suresh Director (OPS) CG HQ.