Notwithstanding stiff opposition from political parties in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka today asserted that it was “very firm” on continuing the training programme of its defence personnel in India and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka’s powerful Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, also the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said his country looks at India in a “much bigger way”.

Dwelling on the issue, he said it has been the practice for any new batch to be sent to India for training and that Sri Lanka has no plans to change the tradition.

He noted that starting from the Defence Secretary to Army commanders, everyone has been trained in India. “Everyone go to India first and only then they are sent to other countries like USA (for training),” he said.

Rajapaksa’s comments assume significance in the wake of almost all political parties in Tamil Nadu coming on a single platform to oppose the training programme to Sri Lankan military personnel in India.

Initially, the parties protested the presence of Sri Lankan personnel in Tamil Nadu, but later widened their demand by asking the Indian Government to scrap the entire programme and send them back home.

However, India has made it clear that the training programme would continue.

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