Mar 18, Colombo: With pressure mounting on the central government from the Tamil Nadu Tamil political parties to act against Sri Lanka, India has called off the annual defence dialogue with Sri Lanka scheduled to be held from March 23.
The Indian government has not given any reason for the cancellation of the three-day long dialogue between the defense officials of the two countries.
"The Annual Defence Dialogue with Sri Lanka has been called off," India's PTI news agency said quoting a source. The new dates have not been decided yet, the source has informed.
The bilateral Defence Dialogue, held for the first time last year, provides an opportunity to senior defence officials of the two countries to meet and discuss matters related to defence and security.
During the talks, the two sides were to discuss ways to strengthen defence ties and finalize future military exercises.
During discussions last year in India, the two Defence Secretaries, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka and his Indian counterpart Shashikant Sharma extensively reviewed the state of their defence cooperation and agreed to strengthen their existing links, especially in the field of training and service exchanges.
This year the dialogue was to be held in Colombo.
Buckled by the pressure from Tamil Nadu pro-Eelam Tamil parties, especially the Karunanidhi led DMK and Jayalalithaa led AIDMK, which vehemently oppose providing military assistance to Sri Lanka, Indian government in July last year decided to send back nine Sri Lankan Air Force officers who have arrived in the Tambaram Air Force station in Chennai for a nine month-long training as part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries.
In last October India's Defence Ministry asked its Navy to conduct joint naval exercises series SLINEX with Sri Lanka in the seas away from the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.
However, the Indian government last year said that it will continue to provide training to Sri Lankan defence personnel at India's defence facilities.