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India to train 1,500 Sri Lankan army personnel as part of Neighbourhood First policy

Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay with Indian Army Trainee Alumni in Sri Lanka (Photo: @IndiainSL/Twitter)

India will provide training to 1,500 personnel of the Sri Lankan armed forces every year. The Sri Lankan media quoted Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay as saying that India has provided training to Sri Lanka even in “challenging times”–a possible reference to the time when the Tamil separatist movement was at its peak.

In a report on Saturday, The Island newspaper reported that Baglay told a gathering of Indian Army Trainees Alumni that India will continue to provide training to the armed forces as part of its Neighbourhood First policy.

The event included Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva and Commander of the Lanka Army Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage.

The defence forces of the two countries have close bonds and regularly carry out military exercises as part of their effort to enhance security in the vital Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The bonding between and the training engagements between the two defence forces have created a spirit of brotherhood and interoperability. Gen Silva also commended the efforts of High Commissioner Baglay in connecting the two countries as friendly, mutually-respecting and caring neighbours. He added that India has always been at the forefront in training the Sri Lankan armed forces personnel.

Over the course of this year, India has pumped in $4 billion worth of support to Sri Lanka as the nation defaulted on foreign debt and faced a severe payment crisis. India is also helping the island nation in acquiring bail-out loans from international monetary agencies.