COLOMBO/NEW DELHI:Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag left for Sri Lanka on Sunday on a four-day visit during which he will review bilateral defence ties and discuss new avenues of cooperation with the key neighbour. His visit assumes significance in the light of the increasing bilateral defence and maritime cooperation.
Among the countries of the Indian Ocean Region, Sri Lanka is the “most important partner and one of our most important neighbours,” an official statement said. However, sources in Colombo told Express there was no military significance to the visit. The visit is not centered on any Sri Lankan bid to get modern weaponry from India, they clarified. “At the most, Gen Suhag may offer more seats for Lankan officers in Indian military training establishments,” a leading Lankan military analyst said. According to a high-ranking official, it is nostalgia which brings Gen Suhag to Sri Lanka. He had expressed keen interest in visiting the various places in the Northern Province where he had served as a young Company Commander in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in the late 1980s, the official said.
Gen Suhag will fly to Jaffna on Tuesday and visit the IPKF memorial, which is of particular significance because it commemorates the 29 soldiers of the 10 Para Commandos who were killed during a daring assault on the LTTE’s headquarters in the Jaffna University football ground on October 12, 1987.
According to records, Gen Suhag had volunteered to serve in the IPKF leaving a comfortable job as an instructor in the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun.
Parrikar to visit US this weekend
New Delhi: To take forward the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative and work towards greater collaboration in the joint development and manufacturing of next-generation military hardware, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will leave for the US this weekend. It will be the first US visit by a Defence Minister in five years.