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* Sri Lankan Defense Secretary offers training to Indian army in counter-insurgency warfare
Mon, Dec 31, 2012, 11:40 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 31, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Defense and Urban Development Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has offered to help to train Indian army personnel in counter-insurgency warfare.

Secretary Rajapaksa has made this offer when the Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh, who visited the island recently, called on the Defense Secretary at his Ministry on December 20.

"When I met Gen Bikram Singh, I renewed our offer to train Indian forces in counter-insurgency," Rajapaksa has told Indian newspaper Indian Express.

He has said that the two armies have designed courses in this field and have offered them to other countries facing terrorism.

"It is now up to the Indian army chief to decide," Secretary Rajapaksa has said.

The Defense Secretary has noted that the two countries had good relations with the Indian armed forces even during times of political turmoil in India.

He has explained that the training to Indian military personnel could include attending courses and/or participating in joint exercises, but joint exercises were more likely.

"Such exercises are already taking place. These will be continued and improved," he has told the Express.

During discussions with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa General Singh assured India's full commitment to Sri Lanka's security and expressed that the Indian government and the military are committed to further strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

The Indian Army Chief while pledging all possible assistance to further improvement of training slots to Sri Lanka Army in various training programs has indicated that Indian Army can also benefit from Sri Lanka's experience.

"With significant experience on both sides, we have a lot to learn from each other and we look forward to reinforcing our cooperation in the military domain further," he said during discussions with his Sri Lankan counterpart Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya.

Discussions also have explored possibilities of launching one-to-one correspondence between service regiments of the respective armies as measures to further broaden the spectrum of military interests, benefiting both sides.

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