New Delhi: Army Chief General V K Singh will
be on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka beginning Sunday in an
effort to strengthen bilateral tries with the neighbour, which
has won an internal war against LTTE just a year ago.
Gen Singh will hold discussions with Lankan President
Mahinda Rajapakse and Prime Minister D M Jayaratne, apart from
meeting the chiefs of the island nation`s armed forces.
He also plans to visit the Lankan military training
institutions, services headquarters and various operational
units to give a boost to defence cooperation between the two
countries, an Army press release said here today.
"India-Sri Lanka relations are multi-faceted and have been
built upon a legacy of historic links, common culture, shared
commitment to democracy and a common orientation towards
non-alignment in foreign policy," the release said.
"Both countries share a common vision of peace and
stability in the world. Both India and Sri Lanka enjoy an
excellent relationship between governments, military and above
all the people of the two nations. India aims to maintain
close, amiable and cooperative relations with Sri Lanka at
both military and government levels," it added.
India had sent an Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to
Sri Lanka to try and bring about peace in the internal strife,
particularly to disarm the LTTE with mixed results, following
an agreement in 1987 between then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
and Lankan President J R Jayawardane.
In recent times, India has provided help to Sri Lanka in
the form of non-lethal military systems and equipment,
apparently keeping the strong sentiments in Tamil Nadu against
any defence assistance to the island nation.
India has been pressing Sri Lanka to quickly follow up the
military victory against LTTE with a political solution that
satisfies the minorities, especially Tamils.
Gen Singh`s visit takes places close on the heels of
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao`s four-day Sri Lanka tour
earlier this week to oversee the resettlement process of the
nearly 3 lakh displaced Tamil civilians in the war-ravaged