Defence ties to expand further: Indian Defence Secretary meets President

The longstanding good defence relationship between India and Sri Lanka should be further expanded and strengthened, Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar said when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday.

The defence dialogue on promoting bilateral relations between the two countries should be further extended to include infantry and air force, the Indian Defence Secretary said.

It was agreed that the two countries will have a joint naval exercise in Sri Lankan waters next year. The Indian Defence Secretary informed President Rajapaksa that India will offer more training opportunities for the Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel in the future.

An Indian Air Force demonstration will be held in line with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Sri Lanka Air Force next year, he said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa acknowledged the continuing good relations between Sri Lanka and India and welcomed the initiatives to strengthen defence cooperation in between the two countries.

The Indian Defence Secretary emphasized the importance of increasing not only defence relations but also relations in all other spheres between the two countries. He said he held comprehensive discussions with both Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in this regard. Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok K Kanta, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe and a number of Indian Security Forces representatives were present.

Courtesy: Daily News