(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –A virtual experts’ level interaction through Webinarwas organised between Indian Army and Sri Lanka Army Medical Corpson 27 Aug 20. The aim of the Webinar was to discuss Standard Operating Procedures, best practices and issues concerning COVID management by both the Armies with special focus on“Force Protection and Preservation Measures”.

The Webinar was inaugurated by Lt Gen AK Hooda, Director General of Medical Services (Indian Army) wherein he complimented the success achieved by Sri Lanka Armed Forces in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. The DGMS (Indian Army) also brought out that to effectively deal with and contain the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that countries, especially in neighbourhood join hands.

The event was graced by the presence of Maj Gen (Dr) SH Munasinghe, Secretary of Health, Government of Sri Lanka. The Secretary in his address emphasised the importance of such platforms to share best practices and knowledge so as to tackle this global pandemic effectively. The Secretary also brought out that spread of pandemic has been kept under check in Sri Lanka owing to foresight and proactive steps initiated by the Government under the guidance of the Sri Lankan President.

The event also had the participation of expert teams from both sides wherein the discussion included aspects of containment, management and mitigation measures specific to the region and as evolved by the respective Armed Forces. In addition, issues about the evolving trends of the pandemic and steps taken to ensure future management were also discussed.

India and Sri Lanka enjoy a strong and growing defence relationship pillared on extensive training and close linkages between the militaries. Both Armed Forces have been striving hard to learn from each other in the fields of anti terrorism operations, exchange of information, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts etc. Even now, when COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the movement of people across the world, Indian Army and Sri Lanka Army have continued their interaction through virtual platforms. It may be recalled that even in Jun 2020, Maj Gen HJS Gunawardena, the Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka Army, had addressed a multi-nation forum, organised by National Centre of Good Governance, India on best practices to handle the pandemic.

Another testimony to the deep rooted defence cooperation between two Armed Forces was visible wherein eight officers and cadets from Sri Lanka Armed Forces were dispatched to various institutes of Indian Armed Forces on a special flight on 25 Aug 20 to undergo important courses. India continues to abide by her commitment to extend quality training to Armed Forces personnel even during pandemic times. The officers and cadets have reached these institutes safely and will undergo requisite quarantine procedure before commencing with the course.

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