India and Sri Lanka began their first Army-to-Army staff talks on Wednesday to bolster bilateral military cooperation with joint exercises and training programmes.
The three-day talks, led by Sri Lankan military secretary Major-General HCP Goonetilleke and Indian Army's additional director general (international cooperation) Major-General I P Singh, will chalk out the programmes to be undertaken by the two armies over the next one year.
"Such interactions will result in a more robust and pragmatic defence cooperation," said an official. India over the last several years has trained thousands of Sri Lankan personnel at its military institutions ranging from Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairengte (Mizoram) to School of Artillery at Devlali (Maharashtra), apart from providing specialized naval courses in gunnery, navigation, communication and anti-submarine warfare.
The importance of the talks can be gauged from the fact that India has similar staff talks with only nine other countries, namely US, UK, Israel, France, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore.
(The Times of India)