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India may train Sri Lankan troops

By Nirupama Subramanian

COLOMBO June 16. India is discussing with Sri Lanka a request by the United National Front Government on providing training to its armed forces.

Officials said that Sri Lanka was looking for "specialised", high-grade training for its troops by Indian defence establishments. Military officials said that Sri Lanka wanted to send troops and officials to be trained to undertake special operations. The Sri Lankan military is said to be interested in setting up a unit along the lines of India's highly-trained National Security Guards.

The Sunday Times reported today an agreement had already been reached during the visit of the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, to India last week. The newspaper reported India would provide "combat training" to commandos of the Sri Lankan Special Forces and that arrangements were under way to send the first batch of soldiers.

The Minister for Economic Reform, Milinda Moragoda, who accompanied Mr. Wickremesinghe on his New Delhi visit, discussed the proposal with Indian military and Government officials. With Mr. Moragoda were Gamini Hettiarachchi, who is the Army's Special Forces training chief, and Ravi Jayawardene, who set up the Special Task Force, an elite unit of the police.

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