Sri Lanka in talks to acquire Indian military jets as island faces food, oil and medicine shortages

Sri Lanka is in talks with India to discuss a plan to acquire two military jets for the Sri Lankan Air Force, following a meeting last week between Foreign Minister GL Peiris and India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar.

The proposal is centered on the acquisition of two Dornier aircraft. The Dornier is a twin-engine multipurpose aircraft used for maritime surveillance by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. The plane is considered the centerpiece of the government’s “Make in India” program and is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics under license from the Swiss company RUAG. It is unclear how the aircraft will be used by the Sri Lankan military.

Peiris commenting on the meeting said:

“There is a proposal for the purchase of two Dornier aircraft. There is no finality, nothing has been agreed. There are proposals and counter-proposals, and this is one of the topics under discussion”.

Peiris’ visit comes just weeks after India provided Colombo with a $500 million revolving line of credit from the Exim Bank of India, a $1 billion line of credit for food and medicine. , a $515 million settlement deferral with the Asian Clearing Union and a $400 million currency swap. establishment. Despite these lines of credit, the country continues to face serious shortages of fuel, medicine and food. Earlier this week, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Sri Lanka’s state-owned oil company, ran out of money to buy oil, relying on India to deliver 40,000 tons of fuel. The fuel crisis has led regular power outages across the Island.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the Sri Lankan economy has been in dire straits as revenue from the tourism sector and exports have declined, causing the Sri Lankan rupee to depreciate. As a result, the prices of imported foodstuffs and locally produced foodstuffs have increased, rreaching record highs in January 2022.

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