India hands over successor Donier-228 surveillance aircraft



India officially handed over a substitute Donier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft to Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, President’s Senior Advisor on National Security to be used by the Sri Lanka Air Force, today (16) as the Donier-228 aircraft previously handed over to SL a year ago was sent to India for obligatory yearly maintenance.

The formal handover of this successor aircraft took place at the Sri Lanka Air Force Base Katunayake, with Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka – Mr. Gopal Baglay officiating.

In addition to the Indian High Commissioner and Mr. Ratnayaka, Secretary of the Defence Ministry – General Kamal Gunaratne (Rtd) and other officials also attended the event.

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, the Indian government had taken proactive measures and decided to provide a Donier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft, which was part of the Indian Navy’s fleet, to Sri Lanka for a span of two years. The aircraft was handed over to the Sri Lanka Air Force on Aug. 15, 2022.

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.

Speaking during today’s event, Mr Sagala Ratnayaka thanked the Indian government and said, “Our friends, our neighbouring friends, were gracious enough to assist us. It is not only with this aircraft that we have received India’s assistance. It’s been a longstanding relationship, but in more recent times, when we were going through the economic crisis, India stepped up beyond the call of duty to lend us a hand… And we, in our recent visit to India, have developed a closer bond and a vision for how we will work together in the future as well,” he said.

“Connectivity is the key word. It’s a big word, actually. It has a wide area of meaning. It can be road connectivity, it can be people to people connectivity, economic connectivity, logistical connectivity, security connectivity, you know, it’s a large sphere. And we as neighbours cannot change the fact that we are neighbours. We will have to work together to ensure the safety of each other,” he added.


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