India this week congratulated two Sri Lankan Air Force officers on becoming the first female officers commissioned as pilots by the Sri Lanka Air Force.
“Proud moment for Sri Lanka and for women everywhere! Our Congratulations to ADPL Gunarathne & RT Weerawardana on becoming the 1st women to be commissioned as Pilots in Sri Lanka Air Force. We are specially happy as they are both alumni of Indian Air Force Academy Hyderabad,” the High Commission of India in Colombo tweeted.
In a press release, the High Commission said the commissioning of Flying Officers A.D.P.L. Gunarathne and R.T. Weerawardana as first-ever women pilots in the Sri Lanka Air Force on 16 November is a matter of great pride and happiness notably for Sri Lanka but also for India.
Both the officers were trained in the 204th Pilot Course of the Indian Air Force Academy at Hyderabad from July 2018 to June 2019, according to the release.
It further said that training has been one of the strongest pillars of bilateral defence cooperation between India and Sri Lanka. More than half of military training slots in India for foreign countries are provided to Sri Lanka. Annually, over 1,200 personnel from Sri Lankan armed forces undergo training in India. Of these, nearly 250 are from Sri Lanka Air Force. “The joint training inculcates camaraderie and prepares the bedrock for cooperation between India and Sri Lanka to safeguard our common security interests and contribute to regional peace and security,” it said.