India Hands Over Dornier Maritime Surveillance Aircraft To Sri Lanka Navy

To boost bilateral defence partnership, India on Monday handed over a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft to the Sri Lanka Navy at an event in Colombo. The event, which took place at the Sri Lanka Airforce base in Katunayake, was attended by Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, who is on a two-day visit to the country, and Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Gopal Baglay.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe was present at the handover ceremony.

At the handing over event, Gopal Baglay said the security of India and Sri Lanka was enhanced by mutual understanding, mutual trust and cooperation.

“Security of India and Srilanka is enhanced by mutual understanding, mutual trust and cooperation. Gifting of Dornier 228 is India’s latest contribution to this cause,” High Commissioner Baglay said.

“Like fruits of other areas of cooperation with India, the gift of Dornier to @airforcelk is of relevance to and a step to meet its requirements for maritime safety and security. It is an example of India’s strength adding to the strength of its friends,” he further said.

The development comes a day before Chinese ship ‘Yuan Wang 5’ docks at the Southern port of Hambantota on Tuesday for a week.

The ship was originally scheduled to arrive at the port on August 11. Sri Lanka had asked China to defer the visit amid India’s concerns over it. On Saturday, Colombo granted the port access to the vessel from August 16 to 22.

The aircraft, manufactured by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), was provided to Sri Lanka to help the country meet its immediate security requirement.

The Indian Navy has already provided extensive training to a team from Sri Lanka’s Navy and the Air Force to operate the Dornier aircraft, PTI reported. The aircraft will be flown and maintained by 15 Sri Lanka Airforce crew.

“Sri Lanka has been a key partner of India and we will continue to expand our bilateral defence cooperation in the months and years to come,” a senior official told PTI.

In January 2018, during the Defence Dialogue between India and Sri Lanka held in New Delhi, Sri Lanka had sought the possibility of obtaining two Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India to enhance their maritime surveillance capabilities.

(With inputs from PTI)