B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan and the United States military held a “joint humanitarian exercise” in Trincomalee, capital of the Eastern Province, said a statement by the U.S. embassy here.

According to U.S. Defence attaché Lieutenant-Colonel Larry Smith, “The joint exercise helped members from our two militaries to exchange best practices on how to address complex humanitarian challenges.”

The statement said the event also included civilians from the Disaster Management Centre and the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, who conducted a seminar in disaster preparedness and medical response with U.S. military officials from Special Operations Command Pacific.

“The focus of the exercise was humanitarian assistance. The training included advanced trauma medical care and the safe disposal of unexploded ordnance, coping with post-traumatic stress, and preventive health care”.

Separately, the Indian Naval Ship Magar, which is part of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy, was at the Trincomalee harbour last week for a visit aimed at further enhancing the training ties between the Indian and Sri Lankan Navies.

According to the Indian mission here, the INS Magar belongs to a class of landing ships that are used in amphibious warfare by the Indian Navy.

“The ship, which is based at Vishakapatnam on India's East Coast, is the first foreign naval ship to call on Trincomalee port in nearly five years. After interaction with their counterparts in Trincomalee during which the Indian Naval personnel witnessed a Special Boat Squadron demonstration, INS Magar sailed with Sri Lankan Naval Ship Samudura for a joint training exercise held at sea on 12-13 April 2010.

“About 115 Sri Lankan naval officers under trainees and a number of sailors were embarked on board INS Magar. During the joint exercise, trainees were imparted practical training in navigation, communication, seamanship, damage control and fire-fighting exercises. A number of cultural and social interactions also took place during the exercise,” said the mission.