New Delhi: Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari Monday embarked on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka to explore ways to boost bilateral defence ties amid concerns in India over China’s attempts to expand its influence over the island nation.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari is scheduled to meet with the top political and military leadership of the country.
The defence ministry said the IAF chief is scheduled to meet the Sri Lankan president and the prime minister, state minister of defence, chief of the defence staff, defence secretary and the commanders of the country’s air force, army and navy.
The Chief of Air Staff is visiting Sri Lanka following an invitation of the Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Marshal SK Pathirana.
During the visit, he will also interact with student officers of Sri Lanka’s National Defence College and visit the Sri Lankan Air Force Academy.
“The visit of the Chief of Air Staff will enhance the existing professional ties and bonds of mutual cooperation between both the nations,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar visited Sri Lanka in December last year.
In August last year, Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral SN Ghormade paid a two-day visit to Sri Lanka during which India handed the island nation a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft.
The aircraft was given to Sri Lanka from the inventory of the Indian Navy to help the country meet its immediate security requirement.
India has been supporting various capacity building measures of the Sri Lankan defence forces, including providing indigenously constructed Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).