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Sri Lanka, India, in talks to supply Dornier aircraft to Lankan military

Source : The Week

Sri Lanka, India, in talks to supply Dornier aircraft to Lankan military
An Indian Coast Guard HAL made Dornier aircraft (Image tweeted by @SpokespersonMoD)

Sri Lanka is in talks with India discussing a proposal to acquire two Dornier aircraft for the Sri Lankan military, said Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G L Peiris. Peiris met with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday in Delhi before Jaishankar departed for Australia to meet his counterparts from Australia, Japan, and the US.

“There is a proposal for the purchase of two Dornier aircraft. There is no finality, nothing has been agreed upon. There are proposals and counter-proposals, and it is one of the matters under discussion,” Peiris said. The two also talked about the upcoming UN Human Rights Council meeting. Lanka has been time and again pulled up by the Council for falling back on its 2015 commitments to address rights violations towards post-war national reconciliation. 

Peiris’ visit comes just weeks after India provided Colombo with a $500 million revolving credit line from Exim Bank of India, a $1 billion credit line for food and medicines, a $515 million settlement deferment with the Asian Clearing Union, and a $400 million currency swap facility.

Sri Lankan Tamil legislators wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, requesting India’s help in the implementation of the 13th Amendment for devolution of powers into effect, which was introduced during India’s 1987 intervention. 

The Dornier is a twin-engine multi-purpose aircraft employed for maritime surveillance by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. The Indian Air Force uses it as well. It is a showpiece of the government’s “Make In India” programme and is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd under licence from Swiss company RUAG.

The idea for India to deploy a maritime surveillance aircraft to Sri Lanka has been in the works for four years, but due to the current thaw in relations, it was never fully considered.

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