India’s Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar will conclude his four-day visit to Sri Lanka today in
India’s Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar will conclude his four-day visit to Sri Lanka today in Trincomalee.
Kumar’s trip included working meetings with Sri Lankan defense officials, tours of Sri Lankan military bases and progress reviews of the two countries’ defense cooperation projects.
India has given Sri Lanka extensive military aid in the past year, including several Dornier surveillance aircraft and a naval floating dock. However, in August, a Chinese Navy vessel attempted to dock at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port before Indian pressured Sri Lanka into denying the ship permission. The incident sparked a war of words between India and China, with China condemning India’s interference in Sri Lankan affairs as disturbing and irresponsible.
The visit will likely lead to increased cooperation between the Sri Lankan and Indian navies and increases the likelihood that India will give Sri Lanka more military aid in 2023. More Chinese naval ships will likely dock at Sri Lanka ports in the next few years as China seeks to challenge India’s naval dominance in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean will likely become another source of tension between the two countries as both expand their navies and as China tries to project more military power into Africa and the Middle East.