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Indo-Maldivian joint army exercise to conclude Friday

BANGALORE (PTI): The joint exercise between the armies of India and Maldives, aimed at stepping up defence cooperation between the two countries, will conclude in Belgaum on Friday.

Titled 'Ekuverin' or 'Lightning Strike', the platoon-level exercise which commenced on October 18, would help in sharing expertise in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations, a press statement here said.

Personnel of 16 Madras and 2 Paras (comprising one officer and six other ranks) were participating in the exercise from the Indian side while five officers and 38 other ranks were participating from Maldives National Defence Force, the statement said.

Maldivian Defence Minister Ameen Faisal, who arrived here Friday, will witness the conclusion of the exercise.

GOC-in-C Southern Command Lt General Pradeep Khanna and other senior officers will also be present on the occasion.

Defence Minsiter A K Antony, who visited Maldives a couple of months ago, had held discussions with top leadership of the island nation, including President Mohammed Nasheed, to step up the robust relations that already exists between the two countries.

Antony had said that India would extend all assistance to Maldives based on latter's requests.

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