New Delhi, Nov 23: Russia’s revitalized defence cooperation with Sri Lanka is likely to get a fillip as Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev landed in Colombo on Monday.
Patrushev’s trip to the Lankan capital defines Moscow’s renewed focus on South Asia as it enhances defence partnerships with like-minded partners in the region, including India.
The 70-year-old former Director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) was in New Delhi earlier this month to attend the ‘Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan’.
In Colombo, Patrushev once again highlighted the Kremlin’s emerging focus on the Indian Ocean region while upholding the military cooperation agreement it has signed with the Lankan government recently.
Russia has already pledged to provide arms and equipment which are necessary to improve the military capacity of the Sri Lankan military.
Russia said that ‘prospects for deepening cooperation’ between the two countries were discussed during the security consultations on Monday.
‘The main attention was paid to the intensification of bilateral cooperation on anti-terrorist issues, including the establishment of an exchange of analytical materials on individuals and organisations involved in terrorist activities,’ said Patrushev’s office.
‘In addition, threats in the field of information security, measures to combat crimes using information and communication technologies were considered in detail,’ it added.
Both countries also discussed issues of military and military-technical cooperation, topics related to ensuring social and political stability and law and order, sanitary and epidemiological well-being.
Deepening security, military-technical cooperation
There has been growing intensity of political dialogue and military cooperation, including contacts at the top level, between Russia and Sri Lanka since last year when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Colombo.
Last month, a squadron of the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, including corvette Gremyashchiy and submarines Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Volkhov, arrived at the Colombo harbour in a show of strengthening relations between the armed forces of the two countries.
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Land Forces General Oleg Salyukov also played host to Lankan Chief of the Defence Staff and Army Commander General Shavendra Silva in Moscow last month as they discussed joint combat training events and training of Lankan servicemen in the universities of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Members of the Sri Lankan armed forces were also among participants in the annual strategic-level ‘Exercise Zapad 2021’ held in September near Nizhniy Novogogard region in Russia.
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