Chief of Naval Staff Nirmal Verma on Monday called on Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and exchanged views on promotion of bilateral cooperation, including enhancing security in the Indian Ocean.

Admiral Verma is here on a five-day visit and is the senior-most Indian military official to travel to the island nation in the last five years.

During his stay Admiral Verma is scheduled to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Minister for External Affairs G.L. Peiris and commanders of the three services.

Admiral Verma will visit the Kankesanthurai Harbour in Jaffna where he will discuss the refurbishment of the KKS harbour. To initiate the project, Indian Naval Survey Ship Nirupak will begin hydrographical survey of the harbour on June 30.

Admiral Verma will be the chief guest at the commissioning parade of the new batch of Navy officers at the Naval and Maritime Academy in Trincomalee. The Admiral will also visit the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation at Trincomalee.

Besides visiting the Colombo Dockyard, he will address officers at the Sri Lankan Defence Services Command and Staff College in Batlanda. At Kandy, he will seek blessings at the ‘Dalada Maligawa' and at the ‘Sri Maha Bodhi' at Anuradhapura. The Admiral's itinerary also includes visiting the cultural triangle of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa.

INS Delhi visit

Coinciding with the visit of the Naval chief, a guided missile destroyer of the Indian Navy, INS Delhi, arrived here on Sunday. It has a complement of 410 naval personnel.

The officers and crew of the ship will conduct joint training with Sri Lankan navy personnel. Admiral Verma will hosting a reception for various Sri Lankan and foreign dignitaries onboard the ship later in the evening.

Admiral Verma would also lay a wreath at the memorial for the Indian Peace keeping Force. The memorial, built close to the Parliament House, is dedicated to the 1166 soldiers and officers who laid down their lives in the fight against the LTTE in late 80's.

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