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India, Sri Lanka begin joint naval exercises

October 07, 2009 19:21 IST

In a bid to strengthen Indo-Sri Lankan defence cooperation, warships and navy personnel of the two countries have begun a joint sea exercise off the western coast, to train Lankan cadets on-board Indian warships.

Under the three-day joint exercise code named 'Cadex 2009', which commenced on Tuesday, two Indian warships, INS Shardul and ICGS Varunathe, opened up to Sri Lankan naval personnel, who availed themselves the opportunity to train onboard the vessels.

"As many as 95 Sri Lankan officers under Trainees and 141 Indian officers under Trainees, cadets and midshipman participated in the exercises," Sri Lankan Navy spokesperson Commander D K P Dasanayake said. The exercises and training would continue till Thursday morning when it is concluded.

INS Shardul and ICGS Varuna, which arrived in the island in response to an invitation extended by the Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, commenced joint naval exercise with their Sri Lankan counterparts on Tuesday.

Under the exercise code named 'Cadex 2009', 107 officer cadets of the Sri Lanka Navy's Naval and Maritime Academy joined the exercise on Tuesday to avail of an unique opportunity to be part of a naval exercise. The mission of the exercise is to provide Sri Lanka naval cadets an opportunity to train onboard Indian ships and for Sri Lankan navy ships to enhance and exchange knowledge with Indian ships, a Lankan Navy release said.

The exercise began in the Western waters of Sri Lanka with SLNS Sayura and SLNS Samudura joining the formation as part of the programme where many areas of evaluations are being carried out.

"The Sri Lankan Navy is in the possession of four vessels capable of carrying helicopters. Plans are in the offing to have a naval air wing in the future as well," a Sri Lankan Navy press release stated.

The visiting Indian naval cadets, who are at present at the Naval and Maritime Academy in Trincomalee, are participating in an interactive programme that will give them a better understanding of the Sri Lanka Navy.

These exercise programmes are expected to boost bilateral relationship and mutual cooperation between the two navies, the release said.

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