Lanka, India working closely to enhance naval cooperation

Sri Lanka and India have been working closely to enhance their naval cooperation through measures like training programmes and exchange of high-level visits.

Colombo: Sri Lanka and India have been working closely to enhance their naval cooperation through measures like training programmes and exchange of high-level
visits.

"The year has witnessed exchange of the high-level visits between the navies of our two countries," the Indian High Commission here said in a statement.

Naval chief Admiral Nirmal Verma along with his counterparts from six other Indian ocean countries attendedSri Lankan navy`s diamond jubilee celebrations this week in
Colombo. Two Indian Naval Ships Mysore and Tarangini also participated in the celebrations.

INS Mysore, an indigenously-built largest destroyer ofthe Indian Navy; and INS Tarangini, a sail training ship, had recently visited Colombo along with the Indian Naval Ships Tir, Shardul and Indian Coast Guard Ship Varuna.

They had taken part in training programme organised for Sri Lankan junior naval officers.

Admiral Verma, had earlier visited Sri Lanka in June while Sri Lanka Navy Commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe had visited India last October.

Admiral Verma met Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaka during his visit and discussed "the progress made in the ongoing Navy-to-Navy cooperation between the two countries since his last visit in June," the Indian High Commission said.

The naval officers, who visited here along with the Indian ships, carried out community services for children in Colombo as part of a routine practice for the Indian navy
personnel in visits abroad.

"The Indian Navy Band also entertained the children of a school, who had for the first time listened to the Naval Band," the statement added.

Navy chiefs of Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Maldives were among those who participated in the Sri Lankan navy celebrations.

Pakistani navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir and chief of UAE Naval Staff Brigadier Ibrahim Salim Al-Musharrakh also called on the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary this week.

Warships from China, Russia and Pakistan were also in Colombo taking part in the Sri Lankan navy`s diamond jubilee celebrations.

The Sri Lankan Navy was awarded `Presidential Colours` for the third time in its 60-year history by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Commander in Chief of the country`s armed forces.

Sri Lanka formed its navy in 1950, two years after its independence from the British colonial rule.

PTI