The High Commission of India in Colombo commemorated 50 years of association between the National Defence College (NDC), India, and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces yesterday [August 28, 2023]. The event celebrated the enduring bonds of cooperation, camaraderie, and friendship among the militaries of the two countries. Secretary of Defence Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) was the chief guest of the event. Chief of Defence Staff Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Commanders of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy, and Air Force, along with officers from the NDC, India, and dignitaries from the Ministry of Defence, attended the event.

Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), along with High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay, felicitated the Guest of Honour, Admiral DB Goonesekara (Retd), on the special occasion. Admiral Goonesekara has the distinction of being the first NDC India alumni in Sri Lanka. Accepting the felicitations, he shared his cherished experiences from the times he spent at NDC, India, in 1972, more than 50 years ago.

High Commissioner Gopal Baglay highlighted at the event that India stands committed to Sri Lanka’s capacity-building endeavours in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’. He emphasised that training engagements between the Armed Forces have instilled a spirit of brotherhood and interoperability amongst the services and formed the foundation of their strong bonds.

Addressing the gathering, Secretary Defence commended the efforts of the High Commissioner to bridge the bonds between the two nations across various dimensions. He underlined that India has always been a pillar of strength in the training of Sri Lankan Armed Forces personnel and shares strong cultural, demographical, and behavioural similarities as a friendly neighbour. He further expressed his gratitude for the fully funded and comprehensive training opportunities being provided to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.