Sri Lanka is set to modernise its armed forces with the help of militarily advanced nations like India, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Monday.
The island nation, which has in the past relied on the Indian army for help in battling rebel groups like the LTTE, is now looking to educate its troops in modern warfare by 2025, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Sunday, at a military graduation parade in Diyathalawa.
"In Asia, only the armies of India and Japan are older than our Army," he said, adding: "It is important to maintain defence ties with militarily advanced nations such as the US and Britain. India, China and Pakistan are also important."
The prime minister's comments came on the heels of a Â£6.6 million assistance package announced in November by the UK for "military reform, displaced persons and reconciliation" in Sri Lanka. The package -- part of a UN Human Rights Council resolution -- will be given to Sri Lanka over three years.
The fund will "help to deliver the commitments set out in the historic UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution that was adopted in October including demilitarisation and land returns," a statement from the UK government said.
"The UK is clear that credible investigations into alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka's civil war are vital," according to the statement. "We are already playing a key role in encouraging progress on this, including through the UNHRC resolution which set Sri Lanka on a new path towards reconciliation and a more prosperous and inclusive future."
The Sri Lankan army has been accused of committing several atrocities during its decades-long campaign to defeat the LTTE, a Tamil separatist group in the island's north. According to some estimates, up to 40,000 people may have been in killed in the final five months of the conflict alone, the BBC reported.
"The army fought a war for over 30 years and they deserve all the credit," Wickremesinghe said, and noted that the army's victories shouldn't be used for political gain, making a reference to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was accused of using national resources for personal gain while in power.