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India Delivers Dornier Aircraft To Sri Lanka on Its 76th Independence Day

The delivery of the aircraft comes at a crucial political time when ties between the two countries have been somewhat compromised as a high-tech Chinese missile and satellite tracking ship docks at the island nation's Hambantota port, despite India's concerns over political and naval interference

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INDIA/SRI LANKA: On Monday, present Sri Lankan President Rainil Wickremesinghe expressed his gratitude to India for gifting a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft to the island nation. The aircraft will empower Sri Lankan Navy’s maritime surveillance capabilities and improve the defence ties between the two nations.

President Wickremesinghe noted, “This is the start of cooperation between our Air force, Navy and Indian Navy in maritime surveillance.”

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The leader of the distraught nation, still undergoing a major economic crisis, further said that history has united the two nations to forge a new socio-economic relationship that will bolster better ties between them in the future.

Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade, who is on a two-day visit to the country, accompanied by Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Gopal Baglay, delivered the aircraft to the Sri Lanka Navy at the Sri Lanka Air Force base in Katunayake, adjacent to the Colombo international airport.

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As per details, the aircraft will be flown and maintained only by 15 Sri Lanka Airforce crew and personnel who were specifically trained in India for four months.

The team comprises of pilots, observers, engineering officers and technicians. They will be supervised by the government of India technical team attached to the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).

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The team would execute comprehensive supervision of aircraft, airframe, aircraft support equipment, ground support equipment, and relevant documents and would ensure the serviceability of all the assets.

The delivery of the aircraft comes at a crucial political time when ties between the two countries have been somewhat compromised as a high-tech Chinese missile and satellite tracking ship docks at the island nation’s Hambantota port, despite India’s concerns over political and naval interference.

The ship was originally scheduled to arrive at the port on August 11 but the arrival was delayed in absence of permission by the Sri Lankan authorities.

Although Sri Lanka had asked China to postpone the visit amid India’s concerns over it, on Saturday, Colombo granted the port access to the vessel from August 16 to August 22.

There were apprehensions in the Indian capital about the possibility of the vessel’s tracking systems attempting to eavesdrop on Indian installations while being on its way to the Sri Lankan port.

Also Read: Chinese Research Vessel Set To Dock in Sri Lanka, India Carefully Monitoring the Situation

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