Colombo: Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane has described Sri Lanka as India's priority partner. Stating that as part of its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, he stressed that New Delhi stands committed to ensuring capacity & capability building of the Armed Forces of the neighboring country.
The Defence Secretary was speaking in a 'India – Sri Lanka Defence Seminar cum Exhibition' organised by the High Commission of India in Colombo on June 07, 2023.
The exhibition was inaugurated by State Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka Premitha Bandara Tennakoon. A large number of industries from both the countries participated in the exhibition and showcased their products.
Addressing the gathering through a video message, Defence Secretary termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) as the underlying theme of India's maritime policy. This vision is rooted in advancing cooperation within the region through inclusivity and using India's capability to benefit its friendly countries in the common maritime neighbourhood.
Aramane highlighted the common security challenges faced in the Indian Ocean Region such as terrorism, piracy, drugs & arms trafficking and illegal migration. He called for enhanced and active collaboration to deal with these challenges with the aim to create a safer environment.
The Defence Secretary emphasised that the Indian defence sector stands at the cusp of a major revolution and the focus is to establish a robust R&D and indigenous manufacturing ecosystem, while fostering innovation and entrepreneurship under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiative. He underlined that knowledge sharing in these areas would help strengthen ties between the two countries.
Sri Lanka is one of India's major development partners and this is an important pillar of bilateral ties. The Government of India has extended a US$ 150 million Defence Line of Credit to the Government of Sri Lanka. Out of this, US$ 100 million credit has been utilised.
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