Friday, October 09, 2009

High level Iranian military delegation due in Colombo

by Shamindra Ferdinando - A high level Iranian military delegation is expected in Sri Lanka shortly. This was discussed during a meeting on Tuesday (October 6) between visiting Iranian Defence Attache Brigadier Seyed Reza and Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya.

Extending Iran’s warmest congratulations to Sri Lanka Army celebrating its 60th anniversary on October 10, the Iranian diplomat said that this year’s anniversary was significant due to their glorious victory over LTTE terrorism.

According to an army headquarters statement, the army chief had appreciated the support extended by Iran to Sri Lanka and exchanged views on matters of bilateral interest during the meeting.

The Iranian military delegation will be led by Brigadier Mahmoud Amini Ranjbar, sources said.

Under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka and Iran have enhanced bilateral relations. Sri Lanka is one of the major recipients of Iranian financial assistance by way of funding for upgrading for Sapugaskanda oil refinery as well as facility to purchase Sri Lanka’s oil requirement on extremely easy terms.

Government sources said that Iran had come to Sri Lanka’s rescue during the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s tenure when an LTTE offensive had threatened to overwhelm the army in Jaffna peninsula. Sources said that several plane loads of Iranian equipment were made available immediately after Sri Lanka sought assistance from the Iranian leadership.

The two countries were likely to explore the possibility of sharing military expertise. Responding to The Island queries, sources asserted that the two countries have over the year developed strategies relating to small boat operations. Iran is widely believed to a leading strategist in this concept while Sri Lanka, too, has developed an elite Special Boat Squadron as well as Rapid Action Boat Squadron.

© The Island

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