Colombo, October 23: The Defence Adviser to the High Commission of India, Captain (IN) Vikas Sood called on COMEAST SLN, GOC 22 Division SLA, Commandant SLAF academy, China Bay and Area Commander SFHQ (East) on 16,17 and 20 Oct 20 respectively. Matters of Bilateral Defence Cooperation and support to strengthen defence relationship between two countries were discussed during these meetings.
Towards ensuring a closer People to People contact initiative by the High Commission of India the Defence Adviser visited the Sivananda Thapovanam, Trincomalee which runs an orphanage for about 50 children. Donation in kind was made and areas of support was discussed. The visit was undertaken whilst maintaining strict COVID-19 guidelines and social distancing norms.
The Eighth Edition of annual Indian Navy (IN) – Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) bilateral maritime exercise SLINEX-20 was held off Trincomalee, in Eastern Sri Lanka from 19 to 21 October. The Sri Lanka Navy was represented by SLN Ships Sayura (Offshore Patrol Vessel) and Gajabahu(Training Ship) led by Rear Admiral Bandara Jayathilaka, the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, Sri Lanka Navy. Indigenously built ASW corvettes Kamorta and Kiltan under the command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, represented the Indian Navy. In addition, Indian Navy Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Chetak helicopter embarked onboard IN ships, and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft also participated.
The exercise is was conducted in a non-contact ‘at-sea-only’ format in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. The previous edition of SLINEX was conducted off Visakhapatnam in September 2019.
SLINEX-20 aims to enhance inter-operability, improve mutual understanding and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between both navies. In addition, the exercise will also showcase capabilities of our indigenously constructed naval ships and aircraft. Surface and anti-air exercises including weapon firing, seamanship evolutions, manoeuvres and cross deck flying operations are planned during the exercise, which will further enhance the high degree of inter-operability already established between the two friendly navies.
SLINEX series of exercise exemplifies the deep engagement between India and Sri Lanka which has strengthened mutual cooperation in the maritime domain. Interaction between the SLN and IN has also grown significantly in recent years, in consonance with India’s policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and Hon’ble PM’s vision of ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’.
Synergy developed during SLINEX exercises resulted in seamless coordination of joint SLN – IN efforts in September 2020 to render assistance to MT New Diamond, a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC), which had caught fire off the East Coast of Sri Lanka.