NEW DELHI, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The Indian and Sri Lankan navies concluded their three-day joint exercise off the island nation's western shores.
The Hindu newspaper said Thursday the exercise was described as a continuation of bilateral exchanges.
"This was the first exercise involving the two navies, though there had been a regular interaction," said Sri Lankan Naval spokesman Jayantha Perera.
Two Indian naval ships, INS Sukanya and INS Kirpan, and three Sri Lankan ships participated in the exercise.
"The exercise was purely a professional one, involving fleet maneuver, boarding of pirate vessels and mid-sea transfer between ships," Perera said.
The Indian ships arrived in Sri Lanka last week.
"The naval exercise was part of the ongoing cooperation with the Sri Lankan Navy and defense," said an Indian Navy official.
He said last year the Indian Coast Guard and Sri Lankan Navy conducted a joint exercise on the western shores of the Indian Ocean nation.
The joint Indian-Sri Lanka naval exercise marks the continuation of bilateral cooperation and confidence-building measures between two nations.
Relations between the two neighbors are linked to the armed struggle waged by Tamil rebels in the island country. Colombo was on India's banned list for defense supplies in view of the ethnic conflict.
India removed Colombo from the list after a cease-fire between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2002. Sales were then restricted to the supply of non-offensive hardware.