Noting the longstanding relationship between Sri Lanka and India, National Security Advisor Sagala Ratnayaka said that India had stepped up beyond the call of duty to lend Sri Lanka a hand during the recent economic crisis.

He also appreciated the assistance by American and Australian governments during difficult times in the area of maritime security.

NSA Ratnayaka made these remarks during a ceremony held to hand over a successor Donier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft to Sri Lanka by India that was held at the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Katunayake today (16).

During the bilateral security discussions that transpired between India and Sri Lanka on January 9, 2018, in New Delhi, the potential acquisition of maritime surveillance aircraft akin to the Dornier type from India was brought to attention. The aim was to bolster Sri Lanka’s capabilities in maritime surveillance.

In response to Sri Lanka’s request, the Indian government took proactive measures during these deliberations. They decided to provide a Donier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft, which was part of the Indian Navy’s fleet, to Sri Lanka free of cost for a span of two years. The formal handover of this aircraft took place at the Sri Lanka Air Force Base Katunayake, with Mr. Baglay officiating.

Upon its delivery, the Donier-228 aircraft was instrumental in performing specialized tasks within Sri Lanka over the past year.

Subsequently, it underwent mandatory annual maintenance services in India. In lieu of the aircraft undergoing maintenance, a replacement Donier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft was assigned to the Sri Lanka Air Force at a ceremony held today in Katunayake.

Since its initial arrival in Sri Lanka, the Donier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft has significantly contributed to numerous operations.

These encompass a spectrum of activities such as monitoring and safeguarding Sri Lanka’s airspace and exclusive economic zone through maritime and coastal surveillance operations, executing search and rescue missions, and monitoring and controlling maritime pollution.

The official handover of the successor aircraft to Sri Lanka was attended by the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence General Kamal Gunaratne (Rtd) and other officials.


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