Four Indian naval ships — INS “Tir”, INS “Shardul”, INS Tarangini and ICGS “Varuna” — arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday for training and exercises with the Sri Lankan Navy.

While INS “Tir”, INS “Shardul” and ICGS “Varuna” arrived at the port of Trincomalee, INS Tarangini arrived at the port of Colombo.

The ships were ceremonially welcomed in accordance with naval traditions and are scheduled to stay till October 15.

A special programme has been arranged for the group of 160 Indian Naval officer cadets while 150 officer under trainees from Naval & Maritime Academy—Trincomalee are scheduled to board the ships for a session of training.

A statement by the Sri Lankan Navy said the crew of the Indian ships is expected to participate in a series of special training programmes organised to enhance the relationship between the two neighbouring navies.

Loan scheme

Separately, it has been announced that a special loan scheme is introduced for the rehabilitated ex-combatants of the LTTE.

According to the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Sudantha Ranasinghe, the Ministry of Rehabilitation has set up a centre for the purpose at Vavuniya Government Agent Office.

Loans will be provided up to a maximum of Rs. 250,000 for any livelihood project proposals submitted by them. “This is not only for the ex combatant, even the IDPs who have been resettled can apply for this” Said Brigadier Ranasinghe.

Of the 11,696 detenus held at the conclusion of the war in May last year, over 4,000 LTTE cadres had been released in batches following rehabilitation.

Several ex-combatants including child soldiers were released to their parents by the government. These ex-combatants, mostly the adolescent children, were provided with vocational training while some other school going children were helped to complete their secondary education. Some 500 rehabilitated ex-child soldiers sat for the GCE A/L examination in August 2010.

According to the Commissioner, once a business proposal is submitted the loan facility will be granted at an interest rate of 4 per cent through state banks.

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