Finally, Major and Lankan girlfriend hope to wed next month


When Major Vikas Kumar, 34, from the Indian Army's Corps of Signals, and Arnila Ranamale Gunaratne, 29, a Sri Lankan doctoral student, first met in an upmarket Bangalore shopping mall in March 2011, they never thought that his Army credentials and her foreign nationality would prove to be a such a big hurdle in their relationship.

Since then, their wedding date has been postponed twice. First they were to get married in December 2011. Then in March 2012. Now, they are hoping that their love affair, which has transcended national identities, long distances and legal battles with the Indian Army, will end in wedlock next month.

But they are keeping their fingers crossed. Following three separate orders from the courts in the last two years, the latest on November 21, 2012, the Army has agreed to release Kumar. But it has asked him to repay the cost of his one-year training at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the three-year B Tech course he underwent at the Mhow military college.

While Kumar has agreed to pay the cost of training at IMA, he believes his five-year service liability for the engineering course ended in July 2012. They couple say they won't be able to pay for the B Tech course, which they estimate to be in the range of Rs 16 lakh.

"I did not foresee any of this happening at all. It has been difficult. We thought may be the issues would get resolved in six months, and we would be married by the end of 2011,'' says Gunaratne.

There is also an Army court of inquiry proceeding pending against Kumar for establishing contact with a foreign national without permission. According to a 2004 Army order, any Army personnel wanting to marry a foreigner (except Bhutanese nationals) must obtain government sanction and the spouse must become an Indian citizen.

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