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India, S Lanka to conduct 12-day military exercise focused on counter-terrorism

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Sri Lanka will carry out a 12-day mega military exercise from Monday with a focus on enhancing counter-terror cooperation.

The eighth edition of the 'Mitra Shakti' exercise will be conducted at the Combat Training School in Sri Lanka's Ampara from October 4 to 15, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

"The aim of the exercise is to promote close relations between armies of both countries and enhance inter-operability and sharing best practices in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations," it said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla arrived in Colombo on a four-day visit to take stock of the overall ties.

On the exercise, the Defence Ministry said an all arms contingent of 120 personnel of the Indian Army will participate in the drills along with a battalion-strength contingent of the Sri Lankan Army.

"The exercise will involve tactical level operations at sub-unit level in an international counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment," it said in a statement.

The Ministry said that the exercise will go a long way in further strengthening the relationship between both the South Asian nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation at the grass-root level between both armies.

Sri Lanka was rocked by a series of deadly bomb blasts in April 2019 in which over 300 people were killed. In the backdrop of the blasts, India and Sri Lanka enhanced their anti-terror cooperation.

The seventh edition of the Mitra Shakti exercise was conducted at the Foreign Training Node (FTN) in Pune in 2019.

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