Colombo, August 29: The High Commission of India, Colombo, commemorated 50 years of association between the National Defense College (NDC), India and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces here on Aug 28.
The event celebrated the enduring bonds of cooperation, camaraderie and friendship among the militaries of the two countries. The Secretary of Defense Gen Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) was the Chief Guest at the event. The Chief of Defense Staff Lt. Gen Shavendra Silva, Commanders of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force along with officers from the NDC, India and dignitaries from Ministry of Defense attended the event.
Gen Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) along with the High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay felicitated the Guest of Honor, Admiral D.B. Goonesekara (Retd) on the occasion. Admiral Goonesekara has the distinction of being the first NDC India alumni in Sri Lanka. Accepting the felicitations, he shared his cherished experiences from the time he spent at the NDC India in 1972, more than 50 years ago.
High Commissioner Gopal Baglay highlighted at the event that India stands committed to Sri Lanka’s capacity building endeavors in line with India’s ‘Neighborhood First Policy’. He emphasized that training engagements between the Armed Forces have instilled a spirit of brotherhood and interoperability among the services and form the foundation of their strong bonds.
Addressing the gathering, the Secretary of Defense commended the efforts of the High Commissioner to bridge the bonds between the two nations across various dimensions. He underlined that India has always been a pillar of strength in training of Sri Lankan Armed forces personnel and shares strong cultural, demographic and behavioral similarities as a friendly neighbor. He further expressed his gratitude for the fully-funded and comprehensive training opportunities being provided to Sri Lanka Armed Forces.
The event was attended by close to 50 NDC India alumni in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Armed Forces officers constitute around 10% of the total capacity building vacancies allocated to officers from foreign countries, making such an allocation the single largest.