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India, Sri Lanka hold joint military drill to boost counter-terror cooperation

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COLOMBO (PTI): India and Sri Lanka have begun a two-week joint military exercise in the island nation with an aim to bring synergy and cooperation including in the field of counter-terrorism between the two armed forces, officials said Wednesday.

The 'Mitra Shakti - VI' annual exercise is designed to bolster military relations further between the armies of India and Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Army said.

Some 120 Indian Army soldiers and as many Sri Lanka Army personnel are participating in the two-week military drill.

It aims to share knowledge on military tactics, experience, exchange of infantry technicalities, counter-terrorism practices, long-range reconnaissance patrol, small group operations, effective employment of infantry weapons, simulated attacks on terrorist hideouts, suicide bombing and improvised explosive devices, officials said.

The contingent of the Indian Army personnel, led by Colonel Parthasarathy Roy, Colonel Sombit Ghosh, Major Pujam Manhas and Major Rohith Kumar Tripathi were warmly received.

"The primary focus of the exercise will be to train and equip the contingents to undertake joint counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations in urban/rural environment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations," Indian Army's Colonel Sombit Ghosh said in a statement.

The Indian Army Officers visited the memorial erected for the fallen soldiers who laid down their lives in Sri Lanka while fighting against the LTTE as part of the Indian Peacekeeping Force 1987-1990.

In New Delhi last week, the Indian Army said that "the exercise will go a long way in further cementing relationship between both the nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation at grassroot-levels between both the armies".

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