India, Lanka to further defence cooperation

Against the backdrop of protests in Tamil Nadu against training to Lankan defence personnel, India and Sri Lanka today held discussions on furthering their defence cooperation.

Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is in India on the invitation of National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, called on Defence Minister A K Antony, Defence Ministry officials said here.

He also held a meeting with Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma in which the two are understood to have discussed the entire gamut of military relations between the two sides, they said.

The meetings have come at a time when Tamil Nadu political parties are vehemently opposing any kind of military ties with the Island nation.

However, despite these protests, the Defence Ministry has decided to continue military relations and is also planning to hold joint exercises with Sri Lankan armed forces along with training its personnel.

It has also tried to address the concern of the Tamil Nadu political parties on the issue and has directed the armed forces to hold the joint drills away from the south Indian states. (PTI)