NEW DELHI: In a bid to boost bilateral military ties, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will go on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka from Tuesday, a tour that could trigger political opposition from parties and groups in TN.
During the visit, Raha is expected to meet with the political and military top brass in Sri Lanka, and also meet with the chiefs of the three armed forces of the island nation, apart from meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
The IAF, when asked about this planned trip by its chief, said it was a goodwill visit to the island nation and that it was planned several months ago.
Raha will get the opportunity to visit a couple of Sri Lankan Air Force’s combat squadron at their air bases during his stay in the island nation, apart from inspecting some of their training facilities.
India enjoys a robust military relationship with Lanka, though it has vowed not to sell any lethal military hardware. India, apart from providing systems such as air defence radars, has a close coordination in the maritime domain. Lanka also has a tie-up for its military personnel to train in India.
In the recent years, such military training at air force stations in Tamil Nadu, such as Tambaram on Chennai’s outskirts, have irked political groups in the State opposed to any military cooperation to Lanka, primarily due to the Lankan Tamils issue.