India's Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma arrived here today on a six-day visit to Sri Lanka during which he will meet President Mahind Rajapaksa and other top political leaders and military officials.
"This is the first Sri Lankan visit by an Indian Navy Chief in six years," officials said. The then Naval chief Admiral Arun Prakash had visited Sri Lanka in September 2004.
Verma, who is accompanied by his wife Madurika Verma and a delegation, is here at the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka and Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe.
His visit will promote the existing bilateral ties of the two neighbouring countries and strengthen the mutual cooperation between the two friendly navies, a statement issued by the Sri Lankan Navy said.
During his visit, Admiral Verma will meet President Rajapaksa, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne, Minister of External Affairs Prof G L Peiris, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Commanders of the three services and other dignitaries.
The Admiral will visit the Colombo Dockyard and address officers at Sri Lankan Defence Services Command and Staff College, Batlanda.
In Kandy, the Indian Navy Chief will seek offer prayers at 'Dalada Maligawa' and at 'Sri Maha Bodhi' at Anuradhapura in NorthCentral Sri Lanka.
The Admiral's itinerary also includes visits to the cultural triangle of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa.
Admiral Verma will also visit the Kankesanthurai Harbour in Jaffna where he will discuss the rehabilitation of the KKS harbour, the Indian High Commission said in a release.
To initiate the project, Indian Naval Survey Ship 'Nirupak' would be commencing hydrographical survey of KKS harbour from 30 Jun 2010 onwards.
Admiral Verma is the Chief Guest at the Commissioning Parade of the new batch of Sri Lanka Navy Officers at the Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee, it said.
He would award commissioning swords to the newly commissioned officers o the occasion. The Admiral will also visit the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation at Trincomalee.
Indian Naval Ship 'INS Delhi' will also arrive here on a goodwill visit concurrently.
'INS Delhi' is a destroyer with a displacement of 6900 tons and is 163 meters in length and 17 meters in breadth. It has a complement of 410 naval personnel including 50 officers and 360 sailors and is commanded by Captain S Srikant.
Indian Naval Chief Arrives in Sri lanka
T V Sriram/Colombo
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