India, Sri Lanka to hold joint naval drill in 2011

Monday, December 27, 2010

NEW DELHI - India and Sri Lanka Monday decided to hold a joint naval exercise next year as part of a series of measures to enhance their defence cooperation.

The measures include holding a formal annual defence dialogue and staff level talks between the armies and navies of the two countries beginning next year, a defence ministry statement said.

The decisions were taken at the defence secretary level talks in Colombo. The two sides were led by Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and his Sri Lankan counterpart, Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

It was also decided that the Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik, will visit Sri Lanka next month.

Senior officers of the three services, the Coast Guard and the ministries of defence and external affairs also took part in the discussions from the Indian side.

The Sri Lankan side was assisted by the commanders of the three services.

New Delhi and Colombo have common security concerns, including the security and safety of sea lanes of communication. Both sides agreed that these common concerns will form the basis for bilateral exchanges, the defence ministry statement said.

The meeting also reviewed major ongoing projects, including reactivation of airfields in the war-ravaged areas of Sri Lanka.

The Indian defence secretary also called on Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris. He will call on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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