India on the occasion of its 76th Independence Day will hand over maritime surveillance aircraft Dornier 228 to Sri Lanka on a gratis basis for two years.
The aircraft is being provided for an interim period of two years till a plane being manufactured in India for Sri Lanka is ready.
The aircraft comes as a sequel to the dialogue between India and Sri Lanka that took place on January 9, 2018 in New Delhi, when the Sri Lankan government sought the possibility of obtaining two Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India.
Handing over ceremony of Dornier Aircraft will be held today. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indian High commissioner Gopal Baglay will be present at the ceremony, confirmed the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
Also, Indian Navy Vice Chief Vice Admiral Satish N Ghormade is in Sri Lanka for the handing over of a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft to the Sri Lankan military.
Notably, handing over of the Dornier aircraft by India comes a day before the Chinese ship 'Yuan Wang 5' will dock at the southern port of Hambantota on Tuesday for a week.
Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed that the Chinese vessel 'Yuan Wang-5', widely believed to be a spy ship, has been given clearance to arrive at Hambantota Port on August 16.
Hambantota port, located around 250 kms from Colombo was built with high-interest Chinese loans. The Sri Lankan government struggled to repay the debt they had taken from China following which the port was handed over to the Chinese on a 99-year lease.
"Having considered all material in place, on 13 August 2022, the clearance to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China was conveyed for the deferred arrival of the vessel from 16-22 August 2022," Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The Indian Naval Dornier (INDO - 228) is basically a Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL), multirole light transport aircraft used by the Indian Navy for electronic warfare missions, maritime surveillance, disaster relief and other work with a turboprop twin-engine, produced since 1981.
The Sri Lankan Air Force intends to effectively employ the Dornier aircraft specifically to conduct Maritime and Coastal Surveillance Operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Search and Rescue Operations (SAR), Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) and Maritime Pollution Monitoring and Control within Sri Lankan Search and Rescue Region (SRR) to attain SLAF ultimate vision of "Ensuring the National Security through Effective Employment of Airpower" within Sri Lankan Airspace.
Meanwhile, the Indian High commissioner to Colombo, Gopal Baglay celebrated the 75th Independence Day of India in Colombo this morning.
(With Inputs from ANI)