India, Sri Lanka agree to increase ‘complexity’ of bilateral exercises: MoD

New Delhi, 23 Feb: India and Sri Lanka on Thursday agreed to increase intensity of bilateral military exercises and vowed to avail maximum benefits from each other’s experience and capacities, a move that came amid China’s attempts to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean region.
The two sides reviewed their defence and security cooperation at the seventh India-Sri Lanka annual defence dialogue that took place in Delhi.
“During the meeting, the ongoing defence cooperation activities between the two countries were reviewed, with both sides agreeing to increase the complexity of bilateral exercises,” the defence ministry said.
“In the context of training, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to avail maximum benefits from each other’s experience and capacities,” it said in a statement. The dialogue was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and his Sri Lankan counterpart General Kamal Gunaratne.
The ministry said the armed forces of both countries continue to seek bilateral cooperation in multiple fields and increased engagements are a positive sign for the future of bilateral relations.
It said Aramane thanked General Gunaratne and his delegation for a “fruitful dialogue” and stated that India looks forward to continued engagement based on the common understanding reached at the dialogue.
The Indian delegation also included officials from headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff, service headquarters and the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Sri Lankan delegation included Commander of Sri Lankan Air Force Air Marshal SK Pathirana amongst other senior dignitaries.
The annual defence dialogue is the highest institutionalised interactive mechanism between both the countries.
“Its significance in chartering the future course of the relations between the armed forces of India and Sri Lanka was highlighted by the importance given to the talks by both sides,” the ministry said.
The defence ties between India and Sri Lanka have witnessed steady expansion.
In August last, India handed the island nation a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft.
The aircraft was given to Sri Lanka from the inventory of the Indian Navy to help the country meet its immediate security requirement.
The Indian Navy has been supporting various capacity building measures of the Sri Lankan Navy including providing indigenously constructed Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs). (PTI)