India today congratulated the commissioning of Flying Officers ADPL Gunaratne and RT Weerawardana as the first ever women pilots in Sri Lanka Air Force on Monday and said it 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,” the Indian High Commission said in a press release.

Training has been one of the strongest pillars of bilateral defence cooperation between India and Sri Lanka and more than half of military training slots in India for foreign countries are provided to Sri Lanka, the HC said.

It added that annually, over 1200 personnel from Sri Lankan Armed Forces undergo training in India and 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,” the HC added.