Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, the Chief of Air Staff, arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday for a four-day visit to explore ways to strengthen bilateral defense ties amid Indian concerns about China’s efforts to expand its influence over the island nation.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari is scheduled to meet with the country’s top political and military leaders. According to the defence ministry, the IAF chief will meet the Sri Lankan president and prime minister, as well as the state minister of defence, chief of the defence staff, defence secretary, and commanders of the country’s air force, army, and navy.
The Chief of Air Staff is in Sri Lanka at the invitation of Air Marshal SK Pathirana, Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force. He will also meet with student officers from Sri Lanka’s National Defence College and visit the Sri Lankan Air Force Academy during his visit.
In a statement, the defence ministry said “The visit of the Chief of Air Staff will enhance the existing professional ties and bonds of mutual cooperation between both the nations.”
Earlier in December, last year, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar visited Sri Lanka. Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, Vice Chief of the Indian Navy, paid a two-day visit to Sri Lanka last August, during which India presented the island nation with a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft.
The aircraft was given to Sri Lanka from the Indian Navy’s inventory to assist the country in meeting its immediate security needs.