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Air to sea, first post-Covid naval exercise between India and Sri Lanka boosts defence ties

Indian Navy's Advanced Anti Submarine Warfare Corvette INS Kiltan and Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) INS Savitri are taking part in the annual Sri Lanka–India Naval Exercise (All images courtesy: Indian Navy, Indian HC in Colombo and Sri Lankan Navy)

The sea phase of the annual Sri Lanka–India Naval Exercise (SLINEX-2023) kicks off the coast of Colombo today as New Delhi continues to bolster the age-old bridges of friendship with the island nation in consonance with its ‘Neighbourhood First’ and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR).

The exercise is augmented by Indian Navy’s Advanced Anti Submarine Warfare Corvette INS Kiltan and Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) INS Savitri while Lankan Navy is represented by SLNS Samudura and SLNS Vijayabahu.

Indian Navy’s Chetak helicopter and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft along with Lankan Air Force’s Dornier and BEL 412 helicopters are also participating in the 10th edition of the bilateral exercise.

Quite significantly, it is the first SLINEX post-Covid, the first after the Indian Navy changed its ensign and the first to witness the participation of the Air Force and Special Forces.

Personnel from both Navies have reinforced shared values and built camaraderie since Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy, Rear Admiral Jayantha Kularatne inaugurated the exercise on board SLNS Vijayabahu this Monday.

India Sri Lanka

The harbour phase of the exercise held till Wednesday at the port of Colombo included sports fixtures, yoga sessions at Galle Face and cultural events in collaboration with Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre at Viharmahadevi Park and Dutch Hospital. Both Indian ships were also kept open for a large number of visitors including schoolchildren.

galle face

On Wednesday, accompanied by Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, Lankan State Minister of Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon boarded the indigenous Indian naval ships and was briefed about their capabilities.

On the sidelines, the crew members of INS Kiltan and INS Savitri paid their respects at Sri Sudarshanaramaya temple in Pannipitiya on the auspicious Poya Day and gave donations for temples and schools in the country on behalf of the Indian Navy.

poya day

The sea phase would include exercises in multi-dimensions like surface and anti-air firing exercises, seamanship evaluations, helicopter and maritime patrol aircraft operations including cross deck flying, advance tactical manoeuvres, search and rescue and special forces operations at sea, which will further enhance the high degree of interoperability already established between the two friendly Navies.

lanka indian navy