Source – TNN
India is set to gift a Dornier-228 maritime patrol aircraft to Sri Lanka on Monday, a day before the Chinese research vessel Yuan Wang 5 docks at the southern port of Hambantota in the island nation from August 16 to 22. Indian Navy vice chief Vice Admiral Satish N Ghormade is now in Colombo on a two-day visit to take part in the Dornier handing-over ceremony, which will be attended by top Lankan officials, as well as discuss measures to further bolster bilateral defence ties between the two countries.
The twin-engine Dornier-228 aircraft, which is manufactured by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics and used extensively by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard for maritime surveillance, will be operated by the Sri Lankan Air Force
. Sri Lankan pilots and technicians have already undergone training to operate the aircraft in India, sources said on Sunday. Sri Lanka has requested India in 2018 for two Dornier-228 aircraft to enhance its maritime surveillance capabilities. The Dornier being handed over on Monday is from the existing fleet of the Indian Navy. It comes at a time when Indian concerns about the Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking research ship had led Sri Lankan to initially defer its docking in Hambantota. But it then did a U-turn to allow the docking of the “spy” vessel.