Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC, Chief of Air Staff, Indian Air Force arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport on 1 May 2023 on a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force. Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Air Force and Deputy High Commissioner of India, Mr. Vinod K. Jacob warmly welcomed Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on his arrival. During the visit, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari is scheduled to make courtesy calls on President H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister H.E Dinesh Gunawardena, and have meetings with Minister of State for Defence, Defence Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff and Service Commanders.
The visit symbolises strong relations and close cooperation between the two friendly neighbours, with Sri Lanka being accorded the status of ‘Priority One’ partner by India. Underlining the strong bonds of friendship between the two services, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari would be laying the foundation stone for India- Sri Lanka Friendship Auditorium at Sri Lanka Air Force Academy, Trincomalee under 250 Million LKR Grant assistance by Government of India (GOI), in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
As part of GOI’s commitment towards capacity building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces, Chief of Air Staff of Indian Air Force would be presenting AN-32 propellers to ensure high operational readiness of the aircraft held with Sri Lanka Air Force. He would also be interacting with students at the prestigious National Defence College, Sri Lanka and the Air Force Academy, China Bay, wherein training aids for the students would be gifted.
It may be recalled that in February 2021, at the invitation of Commander, Sri Lanka Air Force, a twenty two Aircraft contingent of the Indian Air Force had participated in the 70th Anniversary celebrations of Sri Lanka Air Force. In addition, Indian Air Force has been the first responder by deploying its assets expeditiously for providing 12T medical supplies in May 2020 and 100T Nano Fertilisers in November 2021.The visit of Chief of Air Staff, Indian Air Force would strengthen the existing relations between the two countries and facilitate discussions on common security challenges and enhancing capacity and capability building initiatives towards ensuring Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), as propounded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.