Sri Lankan military officers return from India

Sri Lankan military officers return from India

Sri Lankan military officers return from India

Two Sri Lankan military officers, who were forced to abandon their training at a defence college in Tamil Nadu today returned home after the government declined India's offer to train them at another facility in Andhra Pradesh.

Defence spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said that due to security concerns the Indian government had offered to transfer the two officers from Defence Service Staff College in Wellington to Higher Defence Management Course (HDMC) in the College of Defence Management in Secundrabad.

"The Sri Lankan authorities whilst appreciating this offer kindly declined as it was observed that the HDMC was not in line with the initial purpose of sending these two officer for training in India.

"Moreover, a higher course with an entirely different scope would neither benefit the officers nor the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in immediate future employment of these officers. Hence, the Sri Lankan Government made a request to withdraw the two officers from DSSC course and accordingly they returned to the island this morning," Wanigasuriya said.

"The Indian Armed Forces are key partners in professional career development of Officers, soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. This valuable training engagement has a history of over 4 decades and has seen progressive improvement in the recent past. There have been difficulties in training Sri Lankan military personnel in some training facilities in India."

Wing Commander M S Bandara Dassanayek and Major C S Harischandra Hettiarachchige were undergoing training in the College from May 27 despite objection from the State Government and protests from almost all the political parties and pro-Eelam Outfits.

The Government and political parties were against providing training to the officials in Tamil Nadu even after assurance given by Defence Minister A K Antony earlier that no Sri Lankan officials will be trained in future on Tamil Nadu soil.

Political parties and like-minded organisations were blaming the Congress for this "injustice meted out to Tamil Nadu despite the killings of thousands of Tamils by Sri Lanka Government in the war against LTTE" and were mounting pressure on the Centre to immediately recall the officials.