(Text of a Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo)
The Sri Lanka Air Force is celebrating its 70th Anniversary on 02 Mar 21 and the presentation of President’s Colours to No. 5 Fighter Squadron and No. 6 Helicopter Squadron of the Sri Lanka Air Force. To commemorate this historical event, a Fly Past and an Aerobatic Display is also being organised for the first time in Sri Lanka at a grand scale at Galle Face from 03-05 Mar 21.
As a gesture of solidarity, and in keeping with years of close interaction and camaraderie between the two countries and their militaries, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy will participate in the event with an Aerobatic Display by Sarang (Advance Light Helicopter), Surya Kiran (Hawks), Tejas Fighter Aircraft, Tejas Trainer and the Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft. A total of 23 aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy would participate in the grand event.
The detachment for the Aerobatic Display arrived in Colombo on 27 Feb 21, with the support of C17 Globe Master and C130J transport aircrafts of Indian Air Force.
The deployment of such wide variety and huge inventory of aircrafts and helicopters of IAF and Indian Navy is testimony to the strong bonds of friendship and close interoperability shared between the corresponding forces of India and Sri Lanka services.
All the Indian aircraft on display are Made in India and as such represent the indigenous technical prowess of Indian research and development sector & reliability of products of India’s Defence Industry. Tejas Trainer, on display for the first time, would also afford the opportunity of independent sorties for the Sri Lanka Air Force Pilots, accompanied with the Indian Pilots whilst adhering to relevant strict health guidelines.
During the deployment, the officers from Sri Lanka Air Force and Sri Lanka Navy will also have firsthand experience onboard the Indian Navy’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft Dornier. Sri Lanka Air Force pilots and Sri Lanka Navy observers will fly along with the Indian crew. This is in continuation of the half yearly Dornier training sorties being facilitated for SLAF/ SLN.
Sri Lanka is ‘Priority One’ partner for Indian in the sphere of Defence. The assurance of India’s fullest cooperation in the field of Defence and security was recently reiterated to Sri Lanka’s leadership by the National Security Adviser of India Mr Ajit Doval during his visit to Sri Lanka for the trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation talks among India, Sri Lanka and Maldives hosted by Sri Lanka in November 2020.
The participation of IAF and Indian Navy aircraft and personnel in the 70th Anniversary celebration of SLAF is indicative of the growing cooperation, camaraderie and friendship between the Armed Forces of the two nations.