Published on - 9/24/2005
Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shantha Kottegoda, in what was seen as a gesture of goodwill, bilateral understanding and promotion for award of more training opportunities for Sri Lankan soldiers was in India recently on a week-long official tour where he met Indian Defence Minister, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff and Indian Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Lieutenant General Shantha Kottegoda's entourage comprised Major General N. Mallawaarachchi, Director General, General Staff of the Army, Brigadier D. R. A B Jayathilaka, Director Training, Brigadier A. R Zacky, Director Military Intelligence and a few other officers.
The visiting delegation as the first leg of their visit paid homage to several places of Buddhist worship in India, and later on paid a courtesy call on the Sri Lankan High Commission in India. The delegation afterwards laid floral wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti, Indian War Memorial in memory of all those who sacrificed their lives. Indian Chief of the Army Staff, General J. J Singh received his Sri Lankan counterpart at the venue for wreath-laying ceremony.
On arrival at the Army Headquarters at South Block, New Delhi, later on the same day, the Indian Army accorded a Guard of Honour to the visiting Sri Lankan Army chief after he was received by Major General P. C Bhardwaj, General Officer Commanding, Delhi area. Befitting the occasion, the Sri Lanka Army Chief reviewed the Guard of Honour and took their salute minutes before he called on the Indian Chief of the Army Staff, General J. J Singh at his office.
Cordial exchange of views on bilateral defence issues, matters of mutual interest and training between both Army Chiefs saw a presentation at the end offered by the Indian Army on India's security perspectives and defence strategies, to be later reciprocated by the Sri Lankan delegation. To signify the occasion, both Army Chiefs exchanged mementos as others cheered.
Lt. General Kottegoda during his meetings with officiating Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Yaswant Prasad and Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to Chairman and Chiefs of Staff Committee, Rear Admiral Raman Puri briefed them on the status quo as regards Sri Lankan security situation and discussed matters of mutual interest in the region.
Those meetings followed a courtesy call by visiting delegates on the Indian Minister of Defence Mr Raksha Manthri at South Block Army Headquarters. Mr. A. Sabrullah Khan, acting High Commissioner of Sri Lanka along with the rest of the Sri Lankan delegation was associated with the meeting where an open dialogue and exchange of views regarding security concerns took place in relation to trends in the world in general.
The next stop in the itinerary for the visiting dignitary was the Vayu Bhavan, (Indian Air Force). On arrival, the delegation was welcomed by Wing Commander Hemant Singh, Joint Director Air Intelligence Liaison before he conducted the visitors to his Chief for audience. During the meeting with Chief of Indian Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall S. P Tyagi, the visiting delegation exchanged views on matters of bilateral importance and security matters in relation to global technological developments, etc. Exchange of symbolic mementos on the occasion followed a special banquet, hosted by the Chief of the Army Staff in honour of the visiting delegation.
During his stay in India, Army Commander Lt. General Shantha Kottegoda called on the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and visited several military sites, Army War College and military training colleges. The delegation also visited Srinagar, Shararat, Indore, Mumbai and several other areas of military interest before they flew back to Sri Lanka late in the night on Friday (9).