As part of India’s commitment to maintaining high serviceability of weapons equipment provided by the government of India to Sri Lankan armed forces, an Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 aircraft landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Jan. 10 with 341 Indra Radar Spares worth LKR 200 million to augment maintenance support for four INDRA Mk-II Air Surveillance Radars, gifted to Sri Lanka Air Force by the government of India in 2011, the Indian HC said, yesterday (17).
Sri Lanka has been accorded the status of ‘Priority One’ partner by India, the IHC said.
The following is the text of the IHC statement: “The spares were formally presented to the Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, by High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay at a grand function organised by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) at SLAF Base, Katunayake. 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 towards ensuring high operational availability and capacity building Sri Lanka Defence forces, towards realisation of India’s Vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).The INDRA Mk II radars is 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 M/s Bharat Electronics and is the main stay of the SLAF Surveillance capability. With friendly assistance from India, SLAF has been able to maintain 100% operational availability of the system. It is testimony to the technological prowess of India’s defence research and development sector and reliability of the products of Indian defence industry.
“The event also marked the successful completion of annual life extension checks of 54 shoulder launched surface to air IGLA Missiles held with Sri Lanka Air Force. The IGLA System was gifted to GoSL by the Govt of India in 2007. Thereafter, Indian Air Force Training Team had assisted Sri Lanka Air Force in setting up of the system and have 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 Govt 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 of India, Mr Ajit Doval during the recently concluded trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation talks among India, Sri Lanka and Maldives hoisted 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.”
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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