22nd March 2017 17:12:46 Hours
The annual Army-to-Army Staff Talks (AAST) between the Sri Lankan Army and the Indian Army were inaugurated for the sixth consecutive year this morning (22) at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo as one more gesture of ever-increasing bilateral military cooperation and understanding with special focus on exchange of training modules, infrastructure improvement, knowledge on technical aspects and welfare programmes.
The three-day talks, attended by high-ranking senior Officers of both organizations would continue until Friday (24), led by Major General Sanjaya Thapa of the Indian Army and Major General A.P de Z Wickramarathna of the Sri Lanka Army.
The four-member Indian delegation during conference sessions would evaluate the progress of already implemented matters of interest between the two organizations and plan the course of intended action during the coming year.
The day’s itinerary began with the customary welcome speech of Major General A.P de Z Wickramaratne, Director General General Staff of the Sri Lanka Army and Head of the Sri Lankan Army delegation, followed by opening remarks of Major General Sanjaya Thapa, Head of the Indian Army delegation.
Afterwards, the conference took up follow-up matters from the 5th AAST before the sessions paused for the lunch break.
In the second half of the day both groups cordially exchanged views on future sports exchange programmes that could be planned for the next one year.
Major General A.P de Z Wickramaratne, Director General General Staff, Major General P.W.V Jayasundara, Military Secretary, Major General P.M.R Bandara, Director General Army Sports, Brigadier G.V Ravipriya, Director Training, Brigadier N Hathurusinghe, Brigadier Doctrine and Development, ARTRAC, Brigadier R.P Rajapathirana, Judge Advocate General of the Army, Brigadier S.K Eshwaran, Additional Military Secretary 2, Brigadier E.S Jayasinghe, Director Legal of the Army and Colonel A.S Wickramasena, Colonel Military Secretary, Army Headquarters represented the Sri Lankan delegation.
The Indian Army delegation is represented by Major General Sanjaya Thapa, Director General Financial Planning, Lieutenant Colonel Sidharth Tomar, Lieutenant Colonel G.S Klair and Major Sandeep Bhardwaj.
The India-Sri Lanka Army to Army Staff Talks (AAST), a novel feature was founded in the year 2012 in New Delhi with the express objective of fostering better relations between both Armies.
Indian Army conducts similar staff talks every year with several other countries.