Chinese General in Sri Lanka to strengthen military ties


Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie arrived in Colombo on Wednesday on a five-day visit aimed at solidifying military ties that have grown increasingly close following the end of the war in Sri Lanka. General Liang’s trip comes amid reports that China will pledge US$ 100 million to help take forward Sri Lankan Army projects in the war-ravaged north and northeast. During his five-day visit, General Liang and his 25-member delegation are scheduled to visit a number of military facilities in the north. He is expected to give a lecture at the the Sri Lankan Defence Services Command and Staff College at Sapugaskanda, as well as visit an Army Cantonment in Panagoda and the Defence Services College in Colombo, for which China has provided some financial assistance. He also met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. On arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Wednesday morning, General Liang was greeted by the Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral DWAS Dissanayake and Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal HD Abeywickrama, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence said in a statement. China is expanding its economic, trade and military ties with Sri Lanka providing US$ 100 million (Rs. 13.2 billion) for army welfare projects initiated by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence, the Colombo media said. Meanwhile, plans are afoot to set up accommodation and infrastructure facilities in army camps in the north and east with Chinese assistance. The maintenance of military camps in strategic locations throughout the country is essential for national security, the Government has long argued despite pressure from some western nations and India to reduce the military presence in the north and east. The establishment of military camps in locations such as Mannar, Palaly, Elephant Pass, Pooneryn, Thalladi, Karainagar, and Mullaitivu began in the 1950s with a view to enhancing internal security. Infrastructure and accommodation facilities in these camps will be built for the benefit of security forces personnel, a senior Finance Ministry official said        ]]>


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