India, Lanka to hold joint naval exercise

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 17:56

Colombo: India and Sri Lanka will hold a
joint naval exercise next year as part of efforts to boost the
bilateral defence cooperation in the post-LTTE era.

This was decided during the talks Defence Secretary
Pradeep Kumar, who is here on a three-day visit, had with the
Sri Lankan leadership, the President`s office said today.
Kumar, who called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa this
morning, said during the meeting that "the prevailing good
defence relationship between India and Sri Lanka should be
further expanded and strengthened."

"Defence Dialogue between India and Sri Lanka should be
further expanded to include army and navy," he said, according
to a statement issued by the President`s office.

Kumar had a bilateral meeting with his counterpart
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and External Affairs Minister G L Peiris
yesterday.

At their talks yesterday, both countries decided to hold
an annual defence dialogue, which was initially agreed during
the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
President Rajapaksa in June.

It was also agreed that the two countries will have a
joint naval exercise in the Sri Lankan waters in 2011, the
President`s office said.
The Indian Air Force has also been invited for Sri Lankan
Air Force`s Diamond Jubilee celebrations which fall next year.

Besides, Kumar informed Rajapaksa that India will offer
1400 training placements for the Sri Lankan security
personnel.

President Rajapaksa welcomed the initiatives to
strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries, the
statement said.

The Indian Defence Secretary emphasised the importance of
increasing service-to-service cooperation between the two
countries.

During his visit, Kumar also paid homage to the slain
Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) soldiers, who laid their
lives in Sri Lanka during the fight with the LTTE in late
1980s.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 17:56

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