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Sri Lanka India's 'priority partner': Defence Secretary Aramane

NEW DELHI (PTI): Sri Lanka is India's "priority partner" and it stands committed to ensuring capacity building of the armed forces of the neighbouring country, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Wednesday.

He made the comments while speaking virtually at a seminar organised by the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

The Defence Secretary highlighted the common security challenges such as terrorism, piracy and drugs and arms trafficking facing the Indian Ocean region and called for enhancing collaboration to deal with them.

His comments came amid China's increasing forays into the Indian Ocean region.

Aramane emphasised that the Indian defence sector stands at the cusp of a major revolution and the focus is to establish a robust and indigenous manufacturing ecosystem.

"He underlined that knowledge sharing in these areas would help strengthen ties between the two countries," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

It said Aramane described the island nation as India's "priority partner", noting that as part of its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, New Delhi stands committed to ensuring capacity and capability building of the armed forces of that country.

He termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) as the underlying theme of India's maritime policy.

This vision is rooted in advancing cooperation within the region through inclusivity and using India's capability to benefit its friendly countries in the common maritime neighbourhood, he said.

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