June 08, Colombo: State Minister of Defense Premitha Bandara Tennakoon said as an extension of the excellent bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India, cooperation in the area of Defense has continued to grow and strengthen over the years.
Attending the Indian Defense Export Promotion Seminar and Exhibition, as the Chief Guest on Wednesday at Taj Samudra in Colombo, State Minister Tennakoon said in the last decade with the growth and development of India’s Defense industry, procurement of Defense related hardware from India has added a new dimension to the cooperation between the two countries.
High Commission of India organized the first India - Sri Lanka Defense Seminar and Exhibition to promote cooperation and collaboration between the two countries on defense equipment.
I ndian Defense Industry, Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, Sri Lanka Armed Forces, Police and Special Task Force also participated in the event. Senior defense officials from Sri Lanka including Secretary of Defense, Chief of Defense Staff and the Service Commanders also were present at the opening ceremony.
The grand event included a Seminar highlighting the capability and capacities of the two countries in defense equipment manufacturing and would also exhibit of a wide variety of defense products.
Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay making the opening remarks said that they believe in sharing their experience and growing capabilities with others and that they consider cooperation with Sri Lanka in all domains as invaluable.
State Minister Tennakoon also said that he believes this event would provide an opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase its own indigenously developed Defense vehicles by local industries and Sri Lanka armed forces and to interact with relevant Indian entrepreneurs. “It is essential for us to remain at the forefront of these developments, continuously modernizing our armed forces to counter emerging threats effectively,” he said.
Addressing the gathering over remote technology, the Indian Defense Secretary (Defense Production) Giridhar Aramane said that Sri Lanka is one of India’s major development partners and that it has been an important pillar in bilateral ties.
During the opening session, Army’s Adjutant General Major General Chandana Wickramasinghe and Defense Advisor of the Indian HC Captain Vikas Sood made presentations.
A Defense Procurement Brochure was presented by the Indian High Commissioner to the State Minister of Defense and Secretary, Ministry of Defense.
The event, keeping with the Government of India’s endeavor to deepen ties with Sri Lanka through inclusive and collaborative engagement, aims to identify newer areas of cooperation for economic revival whilst ensuring capacity building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces.
According to the High Commission of India, Sri Lanka Armed forces have been successfully operating a wide range of Indian defense equipment like Indra Radar, Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels, L 70 Guns, Dornier Aircraft and Army training simulators.
Similarly, Indian armed forces use Fast Interceptor Crafts and refit of Floating Dock at Colombo. More recently, Government of India has committed to the supply of Floating Dock, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Dornier aircraft which would ensure capacity building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces.
The exhibition will also be open to public, providing them an opportunity to see various defense equipment on display.
The Exhibition showcases related products and services of Defense industry from India and Sri Lanka.
Chief of Defense Staff Gen Shavendra Silva, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Army Chief of Staff Major General Channa Weerasuriya, Air Force Chief of Staff Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa, Senior DIG Ranmal Kodithuwakku, former Tri Forces Commanders, senior armed forces officers and Indian High Commission officials were also present at the occasion.