On Monday 15 August 2022, India gifted a Dornier-228 aircraft to strengthen Sri Lanka‘s maritime security. The Indian Air Force and Indian officials handed over the Dornier-228 Maritime Surveillance Reconnaissance Aircraft to the Sri Lankan Air Force base at Katunayake during a ceremony.
Katunayake is a suburb of the city of Negombo in Sri Lanka, close to the Colombo International Airport. The Indian Navy Dornier 228 is a small takeoff and landing maritime patrol aircraft with a twin-turboprop engine and its maximum takeoff weight capacity is 6575 kg.
Earlier, India had gifted Dornier aircraft to Seychelles under the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) Vision Policy to enhance its maritime reconnaissance and help maintain security in the part of the Indian Ocean region and has now gifted Dornier aircraft to Sri Lanka.
Apart from Sri Lanka and Seychelles, India has already given Dornier aircraft to Maldives and Mauritius for maritime surveillance.
According to officials, India has provided Dornier-228 aircraft to meet Sri Lanka’s maritime surveillance security needs and this will boost the bilateral defense partnership between the two countries and reflects the strong ties.
In January 2018, Defense talks between India and Sri Lanka were held in Delhi then Sri Lanka had sought two Dornier-228 aircraft from India to enhance its maritime surveillance.
The aircraft was given a water salute in the ceremonial welcome. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe was present at the ceremony and thanked India and its Navy for standing with the people of Sri Lanka.
The Ministry of External Affairs said that a crew of 15 people, including pilots and technicians of the Sri Lankan Air Force, underwent 4 months of training in India to operate and maintain the Dornier-228 aircraft. The Dornier-228 maritime patrol aircraft will enable Sri Lanka to maintain surveillance in its coastal waters.
The visit of the Chinese missile and satellite tracking research ship Yuan Wang 5 to Hambantota port was opposed by India and a day before the scheduled arrival, India handed over Dornier-228 aircraft to Sri Lanka to strengthen Sri Lanka’s maritime security.
Sri Lanka initially allowed the ship for a five-day stay in Hambantota from 11 August but later asked to delay the arrival of the ship until further indications. After a delay of several days, the ship reached the Hambantota port of Sri Lanka on 16 August.