Reuters: Nothing against India would happen in Sri Lanka land or water, said Chief of Lankan Navy, Vice Admiral R. C. Wijegunaratne.
Wijegunaratne, who is in India to consolidate bilateral naval relations between the two nations, said Chinese presence in the island country was purely for economic reasons.
“We assured the Indian Government and the Indian leadership that nothing against India will happen in Sri Lankan land or water that surrounds. Second thing is that Chinese presence in Sri Lanka is purely on the economic field,” said Wijegunaratne.
Earlier in the day, Wijegunaratne held bilateral discussions with India Navy Chief Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba.
He also visited the control centre of the coastal surveillance network and was briefed about the working of the network.
Wijegunaratne was also accorded a guard of honour by the personnel of the Indian Navy.
Meanwhile, Lanba said both sides are looking at an alternate method of fishing to avoid bottom trawling.
“The main issue and concern is the issue of bottom trawling, so we are looking at alternate method of fishing so that bottom trawling doesn’t take place during deep sea fishing,” said Lanba.
India shares an expansive oceanic border with Sri Lanka without any perceptible demarcation.
Apprehension of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy often takes place and fishermen on both sides ignore rules while netting their catch.
Bilateral navy ties between the two countries has been traditionally strong, encompassing a wide span, which includes operational interactions through bilateral exercises, training, port calls, hydrographic cooperation, special forces interactions, capability building and capacity augmentation initiatives.
Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne on Thursday visited the Southern Naval Command in Kochi, India, completing his five-day official tour in the country.
During his visit, the Commander, accompanied by a four-member delegation, met with the Flag Officer Commanding Chief Southern Naval Command (FOC-in-C, South) Vice Admiral A. R. Karve, AVSM, and Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), South, Rear Admiral M. A. Hampiholi, NM, the Navy said.
In discussions with Rear Admiral Hampiholi, the Sri Lankan Navy commander, describing the present stance of the Sri Lanka Navy, which is in a period of transition changing from Fast Attack Craft operations into operating Offshore Patrol Vessels, with high hopes towards the future. He requested all assistance in realising that hope in terms of providing constant training for Sri Lankan officers and sailors in operating Offshore Patrol Vessels.
Vice Admiral A. R. Karve apprised the Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy of an overview of activities conducted by the Southern Naval Command.
As part of this tour, Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne also took time off to visit the Joint Operation Command and Anti-Submarine School in Kochi and interacted with the Sri Lankan naval officers and sailors undergoing training there.
The Commander, as a Sub Lieutenant, had undergone afloat training in 1983-84 and completed his Anti-Submarine Warfare specialisation in 1989 at the Anti-Submarine School in Kochi.