With a political storm raging in Tamil Nadu over India’s military ties with Sri Lanka, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi on Tuesday clarified that there was “no scaling up of any activity” with the island nation, but added a rider that training the neighbouring country’s military personnel was to India’s advantage.
“There is no scaling up of any activity with Sri Lanka, or indeed with any neighbouring country,” Joshi told his annual Navy Day-eve media interaction here.
He said India had an ongoing training-related interaction, based on the specific needs of the neighbouring country and that was reviewed regularly. “Beyond that there is no enhancement of interaction.”
Joshi noted that having good relations was not specific to Sri Lanka and that India had such ties with all its neighbours. “When we are approached to impart a particular training -- it is true for all of the neighbours -- they avail of our training. It is to our advantage that we extend this facilitation. Otherwise, they will go elsewhere,” he said, but refused to elaborate on what the nature of the advantage.
Following reports that Indian Navy chief had during his visit to Sri Lankan last week offered to extend a four-year B. Tech course to their naval officers at the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against such “an insensitive” move.
Opposition DMK’s supremo M Karunanidhi too demanded that the policy to train the Lankan naval officers in Indian academies be revoked.
In July 2012, following similar protests against Lankan air force personnel being training at the air base in Tambaram on the outskirts of Chennai, the central government shifted them to a facility outside Tamil Nadu.
In June this year, following protests in Tamil Nadu over SL officers training at the Wellington-based Defence Services Staff College, Lanka turned to Pakistan for such training in their facilities.(Indian Express)