As part of its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, India stands committed to ensuring capacity and capability building of Sri Lanka's armed forces, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Wednesday.
In his video address at the "India-Sri Lanka Defence Seminar cum Exhibition", organised by the High Commission of India, he highlighted the common security challenges faced in the Indian Ocean Region such as terrorism, piracy, drugs, arms trafficking and illegal migration and called for enhanced and active collaboration to deal with these challenges with the aim to create a safer environment.
Aramane termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) as the underlying theme of India's maritime policy. This vision is rooted in advancing cooperation within the region through inclusivity and using India's capability to benefit its friendly countries in the common maritime neighbourhood, he said.
Describing Sri Lanka as India's priority partner, he said that India is committed to ensuring capability building of the armed forces of the neighbouring country.
The Defence Secretary emphasised that the Indian defence sector stands at the cusp of a major revolution and the focus is to establish a robust research and development and indigenous manufacturing ecosystem, while fostering innovation and entrepreneurship under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiative. He underlined that knowledge sharing in these areas would help strengthen ties between the two countries.
Sri Lanka is one of India's major development partners and this is an important pillar of bilateral ties, he said, adding that India has extended a $150 million Defence Line of Credit to Sri Lanka and out of this, $100 million has been utilised.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Sri Lanka's Defence Minister Premitha Bandara Tennakoon. A large number of industries from both the countries participated in the exhibition and showcased their products.
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