The withdrawal of two Sri Lankan officers from the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) at Wellington in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu does not, in any way, hamper the growing relationship and training partnership between the armed forces of India and Sri Lanka, military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said on Tuesday. Following objections against their stay at the DSSC, Wing Commander Bandara Disanayake and Major Harishchandra Hettiarachige returned to Sri Lanka prematurely, when they were hardly one month into their course spanning a year.

Wellington is a popular centre of training among defence personnel in Sri Lanka. Many of them, including some in key positions, were trained there, and have often spoken about the “rich experience.”

Transfer of officers

Following recent protests in Tamil Nadu, resulting in security concerns, the Government of India offered to transfer the two officers to Higher Defence Management Course (HDMC) in the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad. The HDMC was usually for senior officers in the rank of Colonel, offering higher scope.

“Since the HDMC was not in line with the initial purpose of sending the officers, the Sri Lankan authorities declined the offer,” said a statement from Brigadier Wanigasooriya.

Scope

“Moreover, a higher course with an entirely different scope would neither benefit the officers nor the Sri Lankan armed forces in immediate future employment of these officers. Hence, the Sri Lankan government made a request to withdraw the two officers from the DSSC course,”he said.