Colombo, February 7: The Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Prof. Jayanath Colombage, has said that AERO INDIA 2021 held in Bengaluru and other places from February 3 to 5, effectively showcased the high capabilities of the Indian aerospace industry.
“The Indian aerospace industry is second to none,” he said at a function held in Taj Samudra in Colombo to mark AERO India 2021. “Together we will flourish. But divided we will perish,” the former Sri Lankan navy commander added.
Speaking before a distinguished audience of top Sri Lankan military and civilian officers, entrepreneurs, and Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, Adm.Colombage stressed the importance of air surveillance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to ensure free and rule-based navigation.
“The Indian Ocean is fast becoming a key ocean. We need collaborative and cooperative measures to meet the emerging challenges here. We need Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). We need synergy between our countries’ navies and agencies. We need to combine air assets at sea for enhanced maritime surveillance capabilities. We need to use All eyes at Sea.”
“We need capacity and capability. India has enough capabilities. Now we witness capacity building,” Adm.Colombage pointed out.
The former Lankan navy commander holds a Ph.D for his thesis on Asymmetric Warfare – a definitive work on the conflict between the Sri Lankan navy and the LTTE’s Sea Tigers over 30 years.
AERO-INDIA 2021 showcased the importance of air surveillance at sea, the Admiral said. He recalled India’s gifting two Dornier aircraft to Sri Lanka and the help India gave to put out the devastating fire on board the oil tanker MT New Diamond, 65 km east of Sri Lanka in September 2020.
Talking about the close cultural and religious ties between Sri Lanka and India, the Foreign Secretary recalled the gifting of 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Duruth Poya, the day on which the Buddha first came to Sri Lanka more than 2500 years ago.
“Vaccine Maithri was a rare gesture, one of the best gestures I have seen. It embodied the noble principle: putting welfare of others before that of self. India’s gestures have reflected the true spirit of Buddhism and Hinduism .India has demonstrated this spirit to the world,” Adm.Colombage said.
“And Sri Lanka reciprocated in full measure when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa personally received the vaccines at the airport,” he pointed out.