Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Indian Navy arrived in Colombo on 12 December 2022 , on a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka, at the invitation of Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Commander of Sri Lanka Navy. Rear Admiral Priyantha Perera, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Navy warmly welcomed CNS on his arrival.
During the visit, CNS is scheduled to call on President H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister H.E Dinesh Gunawardena and Minister of State for Defence Hon’ble Premitha Bandara Tennakoon. Other engagements include meetings with Defence Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff and Service Commanders. The Admiral will be the Chief Guest at the passing out parade of Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee on 15 December 2022.
Indigenous Indian Naval Ship Sahyadri, a multi-role missile frigate of the Indian Navy is also scheduled to make port call at Colombo on 13 December 2022 to complement the visit of the Indian Navy chief. The ship would engage in training engagements with Sri Lanka Navy and participate in Maritime Partnership Exercises with Sri Lanka Navy.
It may be recalled that Indian Navy shared close interactions with Sri Lanka Navy during annual exercise SLINEX 21 in March 2022. Further, Indian Navy provided a maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Sri Lanka Air Force in August 2022 to augment its maritime capabilities. Indian Navy is also providing customised and specialised training to Sri Lanka Navy including in marine technology.
The visit of CNS symbolises strong relations and close cooperation between the two countries, with Sri Lanka being accorded the status of ‘Priority One’ partner by India. It would strengthen the existing bilateral maritime relations between the two countries and areas of common security concern and enhancing capacity and capability building initiatives towards ensuring peace in the region would be discussed during the visit. The visit is also indicative of the growing camaraderie and friendship between the two nations in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.