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Indo-Maldives joint exercise concludes

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BENGALURU (PTI): The two-week long eighth edition of the Indo-Maldives joint military exercise, 'Ekuverin', came to an end at Belagavi, about 505 km from Bengaluru, on Thursday.

The bilateral annual exercise was a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), held alternatively in India and Maldives since 2009.

'Ekuverin' means 'friends' in the Maldivian language.

The seventh edition of the exercise was held at Kadhdhoo, Lammu Atoll, Maldives in December, 2016.

The closing ceremony to mark the culmination of joint training held at Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre at Belagavi, saw participation from marching contingents of both the countries, an official release said.

It said flypast by the Army Aviation team carrying flags of both the countries was the highlight of the closing ceremony, in addition to the formal march past, cultural programmes, and pipe and drum band night display by Sirmoor Rifles.

The exercise has honed individual and collective professional skills of participants by imbibing best practices of both the Armies. It has served to reinforce the close ties of friendship between the two countries, said the senior most military observer of the Indian Army, Brigadier Alok Khurana.

MNDF was represented by a team comprising two officers and 43 other ranks and the Indian Army by three officers, an equal number of junior commissioned officers and 39 other ranks belonging to a Gorkha Rifles Battalion (Sirmoor Rifles).

Brigadier General Ali Zuhair, senior observer of the MNDF, praised them for the high standards of professionalism displayed during the exercise and thanked the Indian Army in organising the training in a "highly professional manner."

The exercise has further enhanced the military relations and cooperation between the two forces, the release said.

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