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Indian Army chief to visit Sri Lanka next month

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh will travel to Sri Lanka next month to discuss ways to further strengthen military ties between the two countries.

Gen Bikram Singh is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in the third week of December and dates are being finalised by the officials of the two sides, Army sources said here.

During the visit, the Army Chief is expected to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the two armies in terms of training, military hardware and joint exercises.

He is also likely to discuss the Sri Lankan experience in controlling one of the world's deadliest insurgencies and terrorist organisation LTTE.

Indian and Sri Lankan armies are also expected to hold a joint Army exercise next year and details of cooperation were discussed at the defence talks held late last month between Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

The two countries have also decided to hold joint naval exercises next year but to address the sensitivities of the southern states; Defence Minister A K Antony has asked the drills to be held away from there.

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