India, Sri Lanka seek closer military ties

Colombo, Jan 19 (AFP/APP): Sri Lanka and India vowed to strengthen military ties and widen maritime links with neighbours after security talks, the president’s office said Sunday.

India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met Saturday with recently elected Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and discussed setting up a maritime research coordination centre, Rajapaksa’s office said in a statement.

It did not give details of the proposed centre, but said other nations in the region should be included as observers.

It said the two countries also discussed closer military and coastguard cooperation.

The meeting followed Rajapaksa’s visit to New Delhi in late November for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who offered US $ 450 million in aid to Sri Lanka after his landslide victory in the presidential election.

His second foreign visit since coming to power — while his prime minister brother Mahinda will visit India on his first overseas trip.

No exact dates have been announced, but official sources said it could happen within weeks.

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