Army Chief Naravane arrives in Sri Lanka to strengthen defense ties, will hold talks with top military officials

 Colombo, Agency. Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday on a four-day visit. During this, he will hold talks with the Sri Lankan leadership and top military officials on issues such as the intensification of bilateral military ties as well as challenges to regional security. General Naravane's visit to Sri Lanka is considered important amid China's efforts to increase influence in the island nation.

Naravane, who arrived in Colombo at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart General Shavendra Silva, was warmly received at the airport by the top military commander. The Indian High Commission in Colombo tweeted, "Gen Naravane's visit will further strengthen military cooperation between India and Sri Lanka." General Naravane is also expected to meet the Supreme Commander of the Sri Lankan Army and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"General Naravane will be given a special guard salute with a colorful guard turnout at the military headquarters on Wednesday," the Sri Lankan army said. General Naravane will witness the final performance of the ongoing bilateral military exercise 'Mitra Shakti' at the Maduru Oya Special Forces Training School on Thursday. The eighth edition of the 12-day long bilateral military exercise began on October 4. Its aim is to develop common cooperation between the two countries to counter terrorism.

General Naravane is also expected to visit the mountain memorial near Colombo to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). He served in the Northern and Eastern Region of Sri Lanka under the IPKF between 1987-90. It is noteworthy that just a week ago, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had visited Sri Lanka and met the country's top leadership. He also thanked President Rajapaksa for his talks on bilateral issues.

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