Indian and Sri Lankan navies commenced a joint military training in the western seas of the island nation on Tuesday.
Code named Cadex-2009, the three-day mission is aimed at exchange of ideas and experiences. A group of 140 Indian Navy and Coast Guard cadets from the Kochi-based First Training Squadron reached Colombo on Monday on two Indian Navy war ships and a Coast Guard ship for the mission.
INS Shardul, INS Krishna and Coast Guard Ship Varuna have docked off the Colombo port and will be in Sri Lanka till October 10. Both Shardul and Krishna, originally a British Navy ship, are used to train cadets and can carry a helicopter each.
“The naval training exercise scheduled for three days intends to provide Sri Lankan Officer Cadets an opportunity to train on board Indian Naval Ships and for Sri Lankan Ships to enhance and exchange knowledge with Indian Naval Ships”.
“In reciprocation, Indian Navy Cadets will familiarise themselves with tri-forces military training institutions and will visit places of historical and cultural value in Sri Lanka to strengthen the ties between the two countries,” a statement by the Sri Lankan Navy said here.
INS Shardul is commanded by Commander Raghunath Nair. ICGS Varuna is commanded by Commandant Kalpit Dixit.
The SLN said the joint exercise reflected the cooperation of the two friendly navies and the long-standing bilateral relations of the two neighbouring nations.
“Two Sri Lankan navy ships will also be part of the interaction in the next few days. The SLN ships taking part in the operation are Sayura and Samudra,” said SLN spokesperson Commander D.K.P. Dasanayake.
SLNS Sayura was originally INS Sarayu, which was sold to the Sri Lankan Navy in 2000. Captain Dasanayake added that the Indian contingent would visit, among other places, the military and naval academy in Trincomalee.
“We have also lined up a football match between cadets from the two countries,” he said, adding that such interactions could not be held at the peak of the conflict with the LTTE.
A few months ago, India gave a high-tech OPV surveillance ship to the Sri Lankan Navy. It had been commissioned with the Indian Coast Guard in 1990.