Indian Defence Forces have remained committed to ensuring high operational availability and capacity building of Sri Lanka Defence forces

As part of a high-level defense engagement with Sri Lanka, India earlier this month provided the country with 341 Indra Radar spares worth Lankan Rupees 200 million. The step marks the commitment of India to maintain mutual peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region.

The spares were handed over to the Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, by the High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay, in a ceremony organized by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) at SLAF Base, Katunayake.

According to the Embassy of India in Columbo, these spares would ensure continued optimal availability of the radars and provide the much-needed redundancy to the SLAF.

“Indian Defence Forces have remained committed to ensuring high operational availability and capacity building Sri Lanka Defence forces, towards the realization of India’s Vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),” the embassy's statement read.

The INDRA Mk II radar is a mobile 2D radar capable of detecting low flying aircraft. It was developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) wing of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The radar has been manufactured by Bharat Electronics and is the mainstay of the SLAF Surveillance capability.

At the interaction, the High Commissioner noted the high level of professionalism of SLAF in using and maintaining the radar.

As per the embassy, SLAF Commander highlighted the contribution of training in India. They also discussed specific steps for future cooperation.

“With friendly assistance from India, SLAF has been able to maintain a 100 percent operational availability of the system. It is testimony to the technological prowess of India’s defense research and development sector and the reliability of the products of the Indian defense industry,” the statement said.

The event also marked the successful completion of annual life extension checks of 54 shoulder-launched surface to air IGLA Missiles held with the Sri Lanka Air Force. The IGLA System was gifted to the Government of Sri Lanka by the Government of India in 2007.

Thereafter, the Indian Air Force Training Team had assisted Sri Lanka Air Force in setting up the system and had also conducted multiple courses on the missile system.

Further, to ensure the operational availability of the IGLA missiles, they are annually taken by IAF for Life Extension check as a goodwill gesture. The entire expenditure of airlifting the missiles, their Life Extension, and their repositioning is borne by the Government of India, in the spirit of strong and friendly relations between the two countries.

The assurance of India’s fullest cooperation in the field of security was recently reiterated to Sri Lanka’s leadership by the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval during the recently concluded trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation talks among India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives hosted by Sri Lanka in November 2020.

The expeditious positioning of the spares and the Igla Missiles is indicative of the growing cooperation, camaraderie, and friendship between the two nations, with Sri Lanka being accorded the status of ‘Priority One’ partner by India, the statement said.