COLOMBO – A detachment of the Indian Air Force team, set to participate in the 70th Anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Air Force this week, arrived in Colombo on Saturday (27), flying in C17 Globe Master and C130J transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
Both the Indian Air force and Navy are participating in the anniversary celebrations as a gesture of solidarity, and in keeping with years of close interaction and camaraderie between the two countries and their militaries. A statement from the Indian High Commission in Colombo said the Air Force and Navy will participate with an Aerobatic Display by Sarang (Advance Light Helicopter), Surya Kiran (Hawks),TejasFighter Aircraft, Tejas Trainer, and the Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft. It said 23 aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Navy will participate in the celebratory event.
Scheduled to be held on a grand scale at Galle Face, Colombo, from March 3 to 5, the celebratory events will include a Fly Past, an Aerobatic Display and the presentation of President’s Colours to No. 5 Fighter Squadron and No. 6 Helicopter Squadron of the Sri Lanka Air Force.
The statement said the deployment of a wide variety and huge inventory of aircrafts and helicopters of the Indian Air Force and Navy was 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, it said were made in India and as such represent the indigenous technical prowess of Indian research and development sector, and 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 guideline, the statement said, adding that 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 also fly along with the Indian crew, in what is being described as a continuation of the half yearly Dornier training sorties being facilitated for SLAF/ SLN.
The statement identified Sri Lanka as ‘Priority One’ partner for Indian in the sphere of defence, noting that the assurance of India’s fullest cooperation in the field of defence and security was reiterated to Sri Lanka’s leadership by the National Security Adviser of India, Ajit Doval during his November 2020 visit to Sri Lanka for the trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation Talks among India, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The Talks were hosted by Sri Lanka.
The participation of the Indian Air Force and 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, the statement added.