India, Sri Lanka discuss defence, trade

India and Sri Lanka opened talks here Monday on defence and trade cooperation as both countries pledged to work closely on enhancing bilateral ties, diplomats said. India and Sri Lanka opened talks here Monday on defence and trade cooperation as both countries pledged to work closely on enhancing bilateral ties, diplomats said. Top civil servants of the two countries met here Monday to review their bilateral relations and discussed “defence matters” as well as efforts to boost bilateral trade, an Indian diplomat said.

India’s foreign secretary Shyam Saran is due to hold talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga Tuesday before leaving after the first foreign ministry consultations in three years, diplomat Nagma M. Mallick said.

“A wide range of bilateral issues of mutual interest were discussed…including defence matters,” she said.

No details of the official level talks Monday were immediately available.

Sri Lanka has proposed a defence cooperation pact with India in October 2003. There has been no final agreement.

Saran also called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse Monday and had a “cordial exchange of views on bilateral issues,” t