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Large-scale India, Lanka naval exercise from Monday

[TOI, Sunday, 18 September 2011 08:33 No Comment]

India and Sri Lanka are all set to hold a major joint naval combat exercise off Trincomalee next week, as part of New Delhi’s continuing intensive diplomatic and military engagement with Colombo.

Defence ministry officials say the six-day exercise called "SLINEX", which kicks off on Monday, will see the two navies deploying at least four warships each. "We have held naval exercises with Sri Lanka in the past but this one will be on a slightly larger scale," said an official.

India over the last several years has trained thousands of Sri Lankan personnel at its military institutions ranging from the Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairengte (Mizoram) to the School of Artillery at Devlali (Maharashtra), apart from providing specialised naval courses in gunnery, navigation, communication and anti-submarine warfare.

The strategy to provide arms and military training, coupled with intelligence sharing and `coordinated’ naval patrolling, undertaken even when the Sri Lankan forces were battling the LTTE, has been primarily aimed to counter China’s ever-growing strategic inroads into the island nation.

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