Sri Lankan and Russia explored the possibility of enhancing naval cooperation, a statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said yesterday.
Navy Commander Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva made an official trip to Russia at the invitation of the Russian Defence Ministry between July 27 and 30. This was the first visit by the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy to Saint Petersburg, Russian Navy Headquarters, thus paving a symbolic milestone on the way of the development of bilateral naval cooperation. Vice-Admiral De Silva, accompanied by Captain (G) G. S. H. E. De Silva, Aide and Secretary to the Navy Commander, and Lieutenant Commander D. M. R. E. Dissanayake, Coordinating Officer and ADC to the Navy Commander, participated at the Main Naval Parade, Russia's largest international ceremonial event at sea.
Organised on the occasion of the Russia Navy Day (last Sunday of July) and attended by Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation – Commander in Chief of Russian Armed Forces, the Naval Parade represented an important occasion for 26 high level naval delegations, including 13 delegations led by Navy Commanders – those of Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Brunei, Azerbaidjan, Algeria, Angola and Tanzania – to meet with Russian counterparts, as well as bilaterally, to discuss the perspectives of naval interaction.
The visit of the Navy Commander Vice Admiral De Silva included a call on Admiral Nikolay Evmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, a working meeting with high level specialists in military-technical cooperation, and a detailed tour of a Russian patrol corvette which was participating in the Naval Parade along with 43 warships, submarines and cutters, including guests of honour from overseas such as Russia-built Indian frigate and Chinese destroyer, over-arched by an air show of fighter jets, submarine chasers, helicopters and other aircraft interacting in naval operations.
On the margins of the Naval Parade, representatives of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Moscow – the Defence Attaché and the Ambassador's Liaison – met with Russian Navy Headquarters’ International Relations officers to discuss the upcoming visits which aim at advancing cooperation between Sri Lanka and Russia Naval educational institutions, including the first exchange visits between the Naval & Maritime Academy, Trincomalee, and the Principal Education & Research Centre of the Russian Navy - the Admiral Kuznetsov Naval Academy, Saint Petersburg.