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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 29 Dec 2010

DRDO’s eye in the sky ready 
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, December 28 The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today said its indigenously designed and developed aerostat system, capable of picking up communication signals for surveillance, was ready.  The aerostat is like a balloon that carries intercepting equipment. The trial concluded last week. It included surveillance all over Agra and interception of variety of communications. The balloon was stationed one km in the air and it intercepted a variety of communications, said the DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta. The system has been designed, developed and integrated by the Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra, a laboratory under the DRDO.  The aerostat offers a 360-degree movement and visual freedom. It carries a thermal camera for surveillance during night and in low-visibility conditions. The electronic intelligence payload carries a communication system for capturing and analysing all types of signals in air.  Health monitoring of aerostat and simultaneous command and controlling of payload from ground control station has been demonstrated. The system will be useful for three services, paramilitary forces as well as have civilian applications, including disaster management. This milestone comes in the wake of new generation high altitude aerostats/airships that will be developed by the DRDO.  The ADRDE has developed and supplied various types of parachutes for wide range of applications viz. paradropping men, weapons, combat vehicles, stores etc, braking of fighter aircraft and recovery of payloads pertaining to missiles, UAV and space missions.  Over the last few years, ADRDE has diversified in the field of lighter than Air (LTA) technologies and developed small and medium size aerostats.  What is it?  The aerostat is like a balloon that carries intercepting equipment. The electronic payload carries a system for capturing and analysing all types of communications in air.  Why is it better?  It offers a 360-degree movement and visual freedom. A thermal camera for surveillance during night and in low-visibility conditions adds to the advantages.  Who’ll benefit?  The system would be useful for three services, paramilitary forces as well as have civilian applications including disaster management.

IAF to park fighter planes in South Navy to keep round-the-clock vigil on islands
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  n The first two Squadrons of the Light Combat  Aircraft to be stationed  at Sulur in Coimbatore. n Need to secure sea lanes and deal with threats  from non-state actors prompted decision. n Pirates and Lashkar on  the radar  New Delhi, December 28 The Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to deploy fighter aircraft squadrons in southern parts of the country to tackle the threat from non-state actors and to secure sea lanes.  Vice-Chief of the IAF Air Marshal PK Barbora said here on the sidelines of a function, “This is in our plans. The first two squadrons of the light combat aircraft (LCA) would also be based in South India and squadrons of either the M-MRCA or the Su-30 MKI would also be based there.”  Barbora, was responding to a question whether the Air Force had any plans of deploying its fighters in the southern peninsula in wake of the increasing threat from non-state actors like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and pirates. Barbora said, “The role of IAF would increase in South India and we are also thinking of increasing our presence in the Andaman Nicobar Islands.”  The IAF is planning to deploy the first two squadrons of the LCA in Sulur in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu.  The IAF has been strengthening its presence in the south to protect the country’s interests in the Indian Ocean region. With the induction of mid-air refuellers, the IAF can expand its strategic reach.  Barbora also said the IAF was “reasonably happy” with the lightweight multi-role jet fighter “Tejas”, which is expected to obtain the “initial operational clearance” next month.  The aircraft has been manufactured by HAL at its Bangalore facility and its designer, DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), is also based there.  India has chosen GE-414 engines to power the next generation of Tejas.  Meanwhile, faced with rising incidents of piracy and fears of terrorists misusing small uninhabited island territories in the Arabian Sea, the Navy has deployed its warships on round-the-clock patrolling around the Lakshwadeep and Minicoy islands.  According to sources, 4-5 warships have been deployed as attempts at piracy have been getting closer to Indian shores. Three major sea lanes, used for transporting oil and other trade material, pass by these islands that lie around 200 km west of Kerala. The Navy has also pressed in its air surveillance assets like Dorniers and the IL-38 series of planes.  Till now, the Navy was not conducting round-the-clock patrolling around these islands. On December 24, Defence Minister AK Antony virtually sounded the alarm bells. Inaugurating a coast guard station at Minicoy, he said there were “doubts that other elements” were behind sea pirates.  In a “sweep” operation in November, the Navy had chased out a group of pirates. It was decided that this was not enough, hence the decision to have warships tackle it on day-to-day basis. Since international navies have tightened noose around the neck of pirates operating around the gulf of Aden and Somalia, the pirates have moved in three directions - area between Madagascar and Mozambique, towards India and northwards towards Oman.

Developed Chinese Navy is not world class
 China has a blue water Navy but has No Aircraft Carrier. If they make one by 2015, they will have no aircraft on board. Strange but True.
ONCE UPON a time the British educators taught every school-going child “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves; Britons were never slaves” and we all held the British rulers in India in awe. The military scenario of the world, however, underwent a sea change after the Second World War. The Sun set on the British Empire as had never happened before in the previous centuries. The United States of America became the dominant sea power and its warships patrolled the Pacific unhindered. The yellow race of China held the whites of America in awe. China was embroiled in its own civil war and the People’s Liberation Army that emerged victorious under the leadership of Chairman Mao Dzdong was basically a land force.  GLOBAL IMPACT OF CHINA  A short statured man named Deng Hsiao-ping who had been sidelined by the giant among men, Mao Dzdong finally emerged from the wings and occupied the centre stage. He changed the economic map of China by his pragmatic philosophy of life, society and economy. He was a middle roader in political philosophy and did not toe the political line of Marx or Mao’s Thought. He advocated the theory that a cat is a cat as long as it catches mice and how does it matter if it is black and white. Thus the Chinese people got their own version of communism where owning a house or an automobile was not a taboo. Private farming and individual owned factories brought wealth to the individual owners and boosted the national economy beyond recognition. The general rule is that whatever goes up is bound to come down. The Chinese economy was an exception. The ten per cent growth made the world sit up and take stock of the situation.  Napoleon and his saying were recalled all over Europe. He had predicted: China is a sleeping giant. When it wakes up the world will be sorry, or said words to that effect.  The booming economy made China take stock of the global military situation. Again Mao’s maxim was recalled “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun. It is the party that controls the gun”. So the Chinese bought big guns from wherever they could. They manufactured big guns too. China made more Kalashnikovs than what the inventor in Russia could have ever imagined. Modern fighter jets and war vessels were either bought off the shelf or manufactured in China. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and arms factory workers were encouraged by citing the example of the Chinese forebears who made the Great China Wall, the only man-made object seen from outer space. Mobilisation of Man power is an art and the Chinese leaders, both civil and military, are consummate artists.  The PLA had a good land army and its modernisation was undertaken. The PLA Air Force was given fast and hard hitting fighter jets and the pilots were trained meticulously. The PLA Navy was the Achilles heel and the traditional weakness had to be rectified. Once a dowager Empress withdrew a huge sum of money from her own treasury to build a strong navy to fight against the oppressive British intruders but built a ship like palace in a big lake where she spent her summers playing Ma-jong. The rag-tag Chinese Navy was no match to the professional British Navy and there are no prizes for announcing the result of the naval engagements. Now the Chinese leadership is determined not to let history repeat itself.  NEW MINDSET  The Chinese nation was encouraged to have a new mindset - Rule China, China rule the waves. The youth was given incentive to join the Navy and see the world. So world class war ships were purchased to keep the Red Star flag fly on the high seas. Naturally the initial stage saw a coast-hugging Navy but no one was disheartened. Efforts, patience and perseverance paid rich dividends. The booming Chinese economy did not let the policy planners fall short of cash to buy the latest armaments. The site was fixed on the underwater warfare to scare the potential enemy away from the Chinese territorial waters. With the growth of a coast-hugging Navy into a blue water Navy going into deep oceans, the Chinese admirals developed self-confidence. They ventured up to the Middle-East with the purpose of defending their economic interests and merchant ships laden with the Chinese goods.   FAR SEA DEFENCE   Leaving the South China Sea and venturing in to the Pacific Ocean required new strategy. The new name of the game was FAR SEA DEFENCE. After all China was in the process of emerging as a world economic power. Its goods were marketed all over the world. The merchant ships had to be protected by the Chinese Navy across the Malacca Straits right up to the Gulf of Aden.   An extended Economic Zone in the Pacific Ocean brought China and the United States of America face to face on high seas where situation could develop into an explosive one and anything could happen. China let it be known to the world that it would brook no interference by another sea power in the South China Sea, come what may.  The most concerned nation following the development of the Chinese Navy is America. It is not alarmed, though. Nevertheless, the American admirals commanding fleets of the US Navy have taken note of the dramatic development of the Chinese Navy. The Americans had been maintaining their superiority so far all over the high seas and oceans and they had no plans to play a second fiddle. Admiral Robert Willard, leader of the US Pacific Command testified before the Congressional Committee on Defence and said “the recent Chinese Navy developments are pretty dramatic”. The higher echelons of command have let it be known to the world that the Chinese Navy intends to display an aircraft carrier group in not too distant future. The authorities in Beijing have made enquiries in Moscow about buying Navy fighter jets for its proposed aircraft carrier. By the way, the Chinese Navy does not have even one at present whereas the US Navy has 13 of them.  SUBMARINE FLEET  The Chinese modernisation plan of its Navy and building a sophisticated submarine fleet will curb the freedom of action of the US Navy in the Pacific Ocean. The Yalong Bay in the South of the Hainan boasts of an underground submarine base. The Chinese Navy is proud of it and looks upon its submarine fleet as the Defender of the Nation as well as the dissipater of the enemy fleet. It is understood that the Chinese Navy has 60 plus submarines poised to aim, shoot and kill a man of war of an enemy country.  Generally speaking, the military strategists were of the opinion that China was 20 years behind America in armaments, guns, fighter jets and war ships. However, it is the considered opinion of the up-to-date strategists and planners that China is fast catching up. The warning bell has already rung and it is for the US Navy to take note of the growing prowess of the Chinese Navy. Taking stock of the battle ships of the two powers who are likely to be adversaries in future, one finds that America has 286 of them whereas China has 260 vessels of which 75 are most modern. One should not forget the strength of a nation’s war fleet is built around an aircraft carrier group where America rules the roost but China draws a blank. America has 3700 naval aircraft but China is still looking around to buy some.  Let us take a look at the budgeted military spending of the two countries. The Chinese military budget for 2010 is 78 billion dollars of which a little over one-third would be earmarked for the Navy, now a privileged service. The expenditure may go up to 105 to 110 billion dollars. On the other hand the military budget of USA is 548.9 billion dollars. America indeed is far ahead. The quality of its weapon system is much superior to the Chinese armaments.  USA provides a defence umbrella to many countries of South Asia and South-East Asia. They are a little scared of the growing strength of the Chinese Navy. There is an urge to America by the free Asian nations to maintain its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and keep the war vessels flying the Red Star flags of China under surveillance and military check by war ships flying the stars and stripes of America.  RUSSIAN ROLE  The Russian Navy is apparently going to play a dominant role in the building up of the Chinese Navy. It is known all over the world that China has no aircraft carrier. What they have on the drawing board is likely to take some concrete form between 2012 and 2015. The Chinese marine engineers are frantically working on the carrier part of the fleet but no one is sure what kind of aircraft it will carry. The existing aircraft that the Chinese have may not be suitable for landing on the carrier deck or a take off therefrom. Thus the value of an aircraft carrier minus the aircraft complement will be practically a big zero.  Now the Chinese air force has little option but to go to its old friend of the communist era, the then Soviet Union or the present day Russia. Indeed Russia will dictate its own price to the Chinese buyers like it did to India for the sale-purchase of a junk of an aircraft carrier called Admiral Gorshokov. India has to pay through its nose because there is no choice.  When the Russian Navy sells aircraft for the Chinese carrier, its instructors will be hired by the Chinese to train their pilots who have no experience of landing or taking off from the deck of a carrier. Thus the Russians will be in a comfortable position economically as well as politically vis-a-vis the Americans who would be just onlookers.  Is the Chinese anti-ship missile Dung Feng a myth or a reality? It is hard to say as of now. The old theory circulated a couple of months ago that the Dung Feng anti-ship missile of China is giving sleepless nights to American admirals in the Asia-Pacific region may not hold water now. Dung Feng may not be as deadly as the pro-Chinese made it out to be. It means that the American admirals may sleep well and the Chinese ballistic missile experts will have to sweat out more and more till they succeed in test firing a deadly anti-ship missile of the Dung Feng class. Peace in Pacific prevails as of now and neither the Chinese nor the Americans need to stand eyeball to eyeball.

Pak Navy successfully test-fires surface-to-air missiles
The Pakistan Navy has successfully fired surface to air missiles in Sonmiani to test its air defence capability. A combination of SAM series was tested on Monday. Source : ANI   Tue, Dec 28, 2010 11:19:03 IST Views:     6    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 0.0 / 0 votes          THE PAKISTAN Navy has successfully fired surface to air missiles in Sonmiani to test its air defence capability. A combination of SAM series was tested on Monday, which gave the navy the flexibility to operate with a range of missiles and strengthen the ground-based air defence, the Dawn reports.  Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir and Air Defence Commander Vice Admiral Tayyab Ali Dogar witnessed the drill, in which all the missiles successfully hit their targets.  Admiral Bashir praised the efforts put in by the air defence battalion of coastal command, and urged officers and men to ensure an impeccable defence.  The Commander of Marines Admiral Noman Bashir said in a briefing on the occasion that air threat, being very dynamic in nature, had assumed multiple dimensions in today’s warfare, and was continuously changing with rapid technological developments.  The induction of the state of the art weapons and equipment would augment Pakistan Navy’s ground-based air defence capabilities against hi-tech aircraft and incoming missiles, he added.  The missiles are equipped with highly sensitive infrared homing head that can intercept high-speed aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. These surface to air missiles are ‘Fire and Forget’ type missiles.

'China emerged more powerful with new weapons'
December 29, 2010 03:01 IST China's 2.3 million strong armed forces emerged "more powerful" with upgraded weapons and high quality personnel at a time when "regional military conflicts cannot be ruled out," Chinese Defence Minister on Tuesday said in a rare revelation.  Gen Liang Guanglie said although China has experienced around 30 years of peace, the Peoples Liberation Army, has never relaxed its military preparations and vigilance especially at a time when "regional military conflicts can not be ruled out."  He said the PLA, which combines the army, navy and the air force, has about 2.3-million regular troops.  In an interview with the official Xinhua news agency on Tuesday, he said country's 2.3 million men strong armed forces emerged "more powerful" with upgraded weapons and high quality personnel even though it had cut down the size of the its "reserves and militias" of the military by about 2.9 million.  His comments about the possibility of "regional military conflicts" coincides with the building up of tensions in the Korean peninsula as South Korea and its allies United States and Japan [ Images ] held a series of military exercises which were resented by Chinas close ally, North Korea.  The PLA had reduced the country's military reserves forces from 600,000 to 510,000 men and women over the past five years, he said.  China has also reduced the number of people in its militias from 10 million to eight million during the same period, Liang said. It is the first time the Chinese government has given the exact number of people in the reserve forces and militias, the news agency said in its report.  The reserve forces and militias can be ordered to assist China's 2.3-million regular troops, the PLA in times of emergencies, it said. In times of peace, the PLA's reserves conduct regular military training and participate in non-combat military operations, such as disaster relief work.  The top general said the PLA had pushed forward military reforms in the past five years to build a more powerful military with upgraded weapon systems and high-quality personnel.  Currently, 80 per cent of the PLA's officers have four years of higher education compared with 25.8 per cent in 1998, Liang said.  To improve the quality of military personnel, the Chinese government has encouraged university graduates to join the armed forces since 2009. More than one lakh college graduates gained their uniforms in 2010.  In the past five years, China has dispatched more than 13,000 United Nations-commissioned peacekeepers to carry out 13 UN missions around the world, Liang said.  The PLA also sent professional units to Haiti, Pakistan and other countries and regions for disaster relief efforts and to give medical aids and other humanitarian relief, according to the top commander.

US drone strikes kill 17 Taliban fighters in Pak
December 29, 2010 00:30 IST Tags: North Waziristan Agency, Taliban, US, Al Qaeda, Ghulam Khan Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  American drones targeted two militant hideouts and several vehicles in three separate strikes in the volatile North Waziristan tribal region of northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 17 suspected Taliban [ Images ] fighters, officials said.  The third missile strike hit several vehicles carrying suspected members of the Haqqani network near the Afghan border, killing nine persons.  Two strikes earlier in the day targeted as many militant hideouts, killing eight suspected rebels.  The first two strikes hit compounds in Ghulam Khan, a border village located 20 km from Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency.  The area is considered a hub of Taliban and Al Qaeda [ Images ] operatives. The drones fired four missiles at the targets.  At least two persons killed in the second strike were retrieving bodies from the site of the first attack, officials said. At least 22 suspected militants were killed when US drones targeted a vehicle and a militant compound in Mir Ali sub-division of North Waziristan on Monday.  US' Central Intelligence Agency-operated spy planes have carried out over 100 strikes in the lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan this year.  The attacks were stepped up following intelligence reports that militants based in the tribal areas were planning to carry out attacks on major European cities.

Indian defence secretary reviews Palaly, KKS progress
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 01:58 Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar seen looking at the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) memorial in Battaramulla yesterday morning. Pic by Nisal Baduge  Visiting Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar met his Sri Lankan counterpart yesterday and reviewed the progress made on the renovation of Palaly Airport (to serve as a regional civil aviation hub) and Kankesanthurai Harbour (for regional and domestic trade and commerce).  Mr. Kumar is accompanied by a delegation of senior officers from the Indian Ministries of Defence and External Affairs and the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.Contd. from A1  Mr. Kumar also met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees. Also present at the meeting were the Indian High Commissioner, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa,  Treasury Secretary P.B.Jayasundera, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Foreign Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe.  The two sides reviewed extensively the state of their defence cooperation and agreed to strengthen their existing links -- especially in the fields of training and service to service exchanges.  They also decided to hold a formal Annual Defence Dialogue beginning 2011, for which Mr. Kumar invited Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa to visit India. Given the commonality of the concerns of India and Sri Lanka (including those regarding the safety and security of their sea lanes, both sides agreed that these issues would be included in their bilateral exchanges). It was also agreed to commence staff-level talks between the navies and armies of the two countries and to conduct a joint naval exercise involving the navies of the two countries in 2011.  Continuing the tradition of high-level exchanges, the Chief of Staff of the Indian Air Force will visit Sri Lanka in January 2011.   During his visit, Mr. Kumar also paid homage to the memory of the valiant members of the Indian Peace Keeping Force by laying a wreath at the IPKF memorial. He also visited the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura yesterday. Mr. Kumar is scheduled to pay a visit to the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Katunayake before his departure for India on 29th December 2010.  Meanwhile, the President’s office said in a statement that India had agreed to offer 1400 training placements for Sri Lanka’s military service personnel next year.

India's first balloon-mounted radar launched successfully
AGRA: India's first indigenously-developed balloon-mounted radar that will greatly enhance the surveillance capabilities of the armed forces has been successfully launched here, an official said.  The aerostat radar was launched from a military compound and will remain at a height of about one kilometre for the next two or three days. All its systems are working satisfactorily, Sudhir Gupta, the project director, said.  The helium-filled aerostat has night vision cameras and sound recorders, weighs around 300 kg, and can be reused.  Gupta said the aerostat can survey areas upto 20 km away and with avanced cameras, its range can go beyond 100 kms.  At the initiative of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agra based Aerial Delivery Research Development Establishment designed and fabricated the high-tech platform.  The aerostat will be used for communication and surveillance. The platform integrates high-end technology, aerodynamics, balloon techniques, hydraulics and high-pressure cylinder technology, according to the scientists involved in the project.  The Indian army and air force hitherto rely on Israeli aerostats that are deployed along the country's western borders but the Indian version would be a cheaper option. They supplement the efforts of the air force's airborne warning and control systems ( AWACS )) that fly at a much greater height.

Defence Dairy
Pranav Kulkarni Posted: Dec 28, 2010 at 0513 hrs
NDA officer equals national record
Major Amit Sinsinwar, assistant equestrian officer, NDA, equalled the national record of show jump recently held in New Delhi. He cleared six bars at the height of 1.76 metres. Maj Sinsinwar is an alumnus of the NDA of the 105th course. In cadet days, he represented NDA in Competition Show Jumping Internationale in the young riders category held in Pune in 2003. He also represented the country in polo in Malaysia in 2004. The officer was the captain of Northern Command Equestrian Team for three years. In 2008, Maj Sinsinwar bagged the gold medal in CSI in the senior category in Bengaluru. After his stunning performance in New Delhi, he has been selected for the advance equitation course in Argentina, where 15 riders from various countries across the world will be trained with Argentinean Army at the Riding Academy in Buenos Aries. 
Southern Command gives Rs 5 lakh to Kirkee school
HQ Southern Command sanctioned Rs 5 lakh for the Military Farm Hindi Medium Primary and High School in Kirkee. The money was sanctioned out of the welfare fund and was handed over to the school on Monday by Maj Gen K S Venugopal, VSM, MGOL, HQ Southern Command, Pune, who also presided over the function. Students in the school belong to the lower strata of society with poor economic background. Some children of serving and retired service personnel also study there. 
Degrees to officers at CME
 In a glittering function in the Sarvatra Hall of the College of Military Engineering (CME), 78 officers were awarded B Tech Degree under the aegis of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, on December 21. Lt Gen M C Badhani, VSM, Engineer-in-Chief was the chief guest, while Lt Gen S S Sengupta, VSM, Commandant, CME, gave the welcome address. Gen Badhani in his valedictory address said, “I congratulate the graduating officers of 101 Engineer Officers Degree Engineering (EODE) and 14 Technical Entry Scheme (TES) courses. I hope they will contribute not only as engineers to the Indian Army but also to the larger task of nation building.” The prestigious gold medals for standing first were awarded to Major S S Nigde and Major Diwan Singh of 101 EODE course in civil and electrical engineering respectively and to Lt Rakesh Singh of TES-14 in mechanical engineering.
 APS celebrates annual day
Army Public School, Pune, celebrated its annual day on December 22 at the Dhanvantri Auditorium AFMC with fanfare and joyous interaction between the students and parents. Maj Gen Y C Tharakan, patron of the school, presided over the function as the chief guest along with Liszy Tharakan who gave away the prizes.  One of the highlights of the evening was the announcement wherein the chief guest informed the audience about the proposal of instituting the rolling trophy by Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna, AVSM, VSM, ADC, GOC-in-C Southern Command. This trophy and a book prize will be awarded to the most outstanding student of APS Pune every year.

Sri Lanka, India to further strengthen defence ties     
Dec 28, Colombo: The cordial defence relations Sri Lanka enjoys with its giant neighbor India are to be expanded and strengthened further, especially in the field of training and service to service exchanges.  The Defence Secretary of India, Pradeep Kumar, who is on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka on an invitation from his Sri Lankan counterpart Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, assured India's commitment to strengthen bilateral exchanges on issues common to both countries when he met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday at the Temple Trees.  Kumar accompanied by a delegation of senior officers from the Indian ministries of Defence and External Affairs, as well as from the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard arrived in the island Monday and met Sri Lankan Defence Secretary and the External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris.  During discussions at the Ministry of Defence yesterday with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa the visiting official and his delegation has extensively reviewed the state of their defence cooperation and agreed to strengthen their existing links, especially in the field of training and service to service exchanges, a statement issued by the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.  Chief of the Defence Staff and Commander of the Air Force Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunathilaka, Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasooriya and Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe also attended yesterday's discussion between the two sides.  The two sides have agreed to hold a formal Annual Defence Dialogue beginning in 2011 and the Indian Defence Secretary has invited his Sri Lankan counterpart to visit India for the meeting.  President Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting in June this year arrived at a decision to initiate an annual Defence Dialogue. Following that decision a programme has been launched to improve defence relations between the two countries.  "Given the commonality of concerns of both India and Sri Lanka, including with respect to the safety and security of their sea lanes of communication, both sides agreed that these issues would inform their bilateral exchanges," the statement explained.  Indian Defence Secretary informed President Rajapaksa that India will offer 1,400 training placements for the Sri Lankan security service personnel.  During the discussions, India and Sri Lanka have agreed to commence staff-level talks between the navies and armies of the two countries and conduct a joint naval exercise between the two navies in 2011.  The two sides also have reviewed major ongoing projects, including reactivation of Palaly airport as a regional civil aviation hub and of Kankasanthurai harbour for regional and domestic trade and commerce.  Continuing the tradition of high-level exchanges, the Chief of Staff of the Indian Air Force would pay a visit to Sri Lanka in January 2011, the Indian High Commission informed.  On behalf of the Indian Air Force Pradeep Kumar accepted an invitation to participate in the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Sri Lankan Air Force next year.  The visiting official is scheduled to pay a visit to the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Katunayake before his departure for India on Wednesday (29).  During his visit, Kumar has also paid homage to the Indian Peace Keeping Force by laying a wreath at the IPKF memorial. He also visited the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura on Tuesday.  Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Foreign Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe and High Commissioner of India Ashok Kantha, participated in the discussions between Indian Defence Secretary and President Rajapaksa.

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