In a written reply to the upper house of the Indian Parliament, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday admittedly confirmed the training provided to Sri Lankan military personnel in different states of India, including Tamil Nadu where there has been strong opposition from political parties of different hues against the same. “More than 450 personnel from Sri Lankan armed forces are undergoing training at the defence establishments in India including in Bangalore, Kannur and Belgaum,” a PTI report said, citing Defence Ministry sources. In the meantime, representatives from Tamil Nadu political parties in the Rajya Sabha opposing the military training, demand the India government to scrap all training given to Sri Lankan military personnel, accusing the latter of war crimes and genocide.
On the 5th and the 6th, the tenth and eleventh days of the Rajya Sabha sessions, DMK, AIADMK and VCK members vociferously opposed Sri Lankan military being trained in Indian territory in general. The also protested the forthcoming visit by the SL president Mahinda Rajapaksa to Madhya Pradesh.
On the 3rd, DMK Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchy Siva had raised questions on such training being given, urging the Indian government to stop it.
After his questions were not addressed, it was reported that he had shown banners and that the Speaker had called it “indiscipline”. Mr. Siva apparently retorted by asking “Is training of Sri Lankan Army discipline?”
In the meantime, public information made available on the Indian Defence Ministry website describing the ‘military-to-military relationship’ says that India’s military-level exchanges have been noteworthy with US, China, France, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
“With the US and France they took the form of joint exercises and training exchanges, with South Africa and Sri Lanka, mainly training and exchange of experiences, and with China they formed an important confidence-building measure,” according to the website.
The website gives only a few details such as Sri Lankan military personnel have received training at the Counter Insurgency & Jungle Warfare (CIJW) School at Veirangte, the most elite Indian counterinsurgency operations training institute located in the state of Mizoram, and at Army School Of Physical Training (ASPT) at Pune.
In Tamil Nadu, two Sri Lankan armed forces officers are being trained at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) at Wellington. Earlier, in July 2012, a group of nine SL military personnel were relocated from Tambaram in Tamil Nadu to Bangalore.
The Indian government provides assistance to the developing and under developed nations under programme of Ministry of External Affairs.
The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, which comes under the Ministry of External Affairs, enables Sri Lankan military personnel to get training free of cost or at subsidized rates.