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Indian Army chief General Naravane arrives in Sri Lanka to boost bilateral defence ties


Image Source : PTI

Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane

Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane arrived in Sri Lanka’s Colombo on Tuesday on an official visit during which he will meet the top civilian and military leadership of Sri Lanka and discuss avenues for further enhancing bilateral defence cooperation.

Gen Naravane, who arrived here on a four-day visit at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Gen Shavendra Silva, was extended a warm welcome by the top Sri Lankan General at the airport.

“Gen Naravane arrived in Sri Lanka and was extended a warm welcome by General Shavendra Silva Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of Sri Lankan Army at the airport,” the Indian Army said in a tweet.

“(His) Visit will pave (the) way for deeper cooperation in defence between India and Sri Lanka,” the Indian High Commission here said in a tweet.

During his visit, Gen Naravane is expected to call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

On Wednesday, Gen Naravane would be honoured at the Army Headquarters in a “colourful Guard Turnout plus in an elegantly-dressed special Guard of Honour salute”, the Lankan Army said.

On Thursday, he will witness the final demonstration of the ongoing bilateral Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ at Maduru Oya Special Forces Training School in the east.

India and Sri Lanka last week began a 12-day mega military exercise with a focus on enhancing counter-terror cooperation at the Combat Training School in the island nation’s eastern district of Ampara.

The eighth edition of the ‘Mitra Shakti’ exercise from October 4 to 15 got underway with the participation of an all arms contingent of 120 Indian Army personnel, headed by Colonel Prakash Kumar.

The joint military exercise has been designed to enhance understanding of transnational terrorism, inter-operability skills, conduct of joint tactical operations, sharing of each other’s best practices and experiences, the Sri Lanka Army said.

The annual training programme, which has largely contributed to strengthen bilateral military cooperation, understanding and bonds of neighbourly relations between both services, takes place alternately either in India or Sri Lanka every year, it added.

Gen Naravane is expected to pay floral tributes to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) War Heroes at the monument located here.

He had served in the IPKP in Sri Lanka’s north and east from 1987-1990.

Gen Naravane’s visit is taking place a week after Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Sri Lanka and met the country’s top leadership and underscored the importance India attaches to expeditiously taking forward mutually beneficial projects. Shringla had also thanked President Rajapaksa for his guidance and close cooperation in the defence and security sphere.

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