Colombo: Navy vice chief Vice Admiral Satish N Ghormade arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday to hand over the Dornier maritime patrol aircraft to the island country's military.
According to defence officials, both sides discussed other bilateral issues to enhance defence cooperation. The aircraft would be operated by the Sri Lankan Air Force crew who have been trained in India. This includes both pilots and technicians, Defence officials said.
According to an earlier report, the Government of India may provide one Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol Aircraft from the Indian Naval Fleet on a gratis basis for two years. The aircraft is being provided for an interim period of two years till a plane being manufactured in India for Sri Lanka is ready.
The aircraft comes as a sequel to the dialogue between India and Sri Lanka that took place on January 9, 2018, in New Delhi, when the Sri Lankan government sought the possibility of obtaining two Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India.
The Indian Naval Dornier (INDO - 228) is basically a Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL), multirole light transport aircraft used by the Indian Navy for electronic warfare missions, maritime surveillance, disaster relief and other work with a turboprop twin-engine, produced since 1981.
The first ever Dornier will be inducted to SLAF Fleet on August 15, 2022, in a ceremonial procession under the patronage by the Sri Lanka President, Ranil Wickremesinghe and High Commissioner of India, India's High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay.
The aircraft will be flown and maintained only by 15 SLAF crew who were specifically trained in India for a period of four months.
The crew who received training consisted of pilots, observers, engineering officers and technicians along with the supervision by the GOI technical team attached to SLAF comprising of engineering officers and technicians.
India continues to assist Sri Lanka in its economic development to overcome its economic challenges under its 'Neighbourhood First' policy. In line with this policy, India continues to assist Sri Lanka in its economic development and also supports it in overcoming its economic challenges. India is becoming a stronger and more mutually beneficial partner to Sri Lanka. Apart from assistance during the pandemic and fertilizer chaos, India is also donating basic products to the island nation.
Sri Lanka has been suffering a diesel shortage since February, which led to hours of daily power cuts. Presently, Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours.
India under its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, has always come forward to help the debt-ridden island country. Recently, India has extended 8 Lines of Credit (LOCs) to Sri Lanka amounting to USD 1,850.64 million in the past 10 years.