Hindustan Times (East UP)

Lanka priority partner in defence: India

- letters@hindustant­imes.com


COLOMBO: India on Sunday described Sri Lanka as “Priority One” partner in the defence sphere and said the participat­ion of its military aircraft in the 70th anniversar­y celebratio­n of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) is indicative of the growing cooperatio­n, camaraderi­e and friendship between the two militaries.

The SLAF is celebratin­g its 70th Anniversar­y on March 2 and to commemorat­e the historical event, a Fly Past and an Aerobatic Display is being organised for the first time in the country at a grand scale. A total of 23 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy would participat­e in the grand event.

Sri Lanka is “Priority One” partner for India in the defence sphere, the Indian High Comand mission in Colombo said in a statement on Sunday. It said the assurance of India’s fullest cooperatio­n in the field of defence and security was recently reiterated to Sri Lanka’s leadership by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval during his visit to Colombo for a trilateral Maritime Security Cooperatio­n talks.

Doval attended the high-level trilateral maritime dialogue in Colombo among India, Sri Lanka

the Maldives in November last year. The meeting – hosted by Sri Lanka - took place after six years. The last meeting was held in New Delhi in 2014.

The statement underlined that the participat­ion of the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy aircraft and personnel in the 70th Anniversar­y celebratio­n of the SLAF is indicative of the growing cooperatio­n, camaraderi­e and friendship between the Armed Forces of the two nations. “As a gesture of solidarity, and in keeping with years of close interactio­n and camaraderi­e between the two countries and their militaries, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy will participat­e in the event with an Aerobatic Display by Sarang (Advance Light Helicopter), Surya Kiran (Hawks), Tejas Fighter Aircraft, Tejas Trainer and the Dornier Maritime Patrol

Aircraft,” it said. “The deployment of such wide variety and huge inventory of aircrafts and helicopter­s of IAF and Indian Navy is testimony to the strong bonds of friendship and close interopera­bility shared between the correspond­ing forces of India and Sri Lanka services,” the Indian mission said.

It said that all the Indian aircraft on display are ‘Made in India’ and as such represent the indigenous technical prowess of Indian research and developmen­t sector and reliabilit­y of products of India’s defence industry.

Tejas Trainer, on display for the first time, would also afford the opportunit­y of independen­t sorties for the Sri Lankan pilots, accompanie­d with the Indian pilots whilst adhering to relevant strict health guidelines, the statement said.

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