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 Post subject: India offers to aid Lanka protect skies
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:13 pm 
Friday, June 03, 2005

India offers to aid Lanka protect skies

@ Indian Express

NEW DELHI, JUNE 2 India is open to assist Sri Lanka in redesigning its air-defence network and help provide radars to improve its airspace coverage after reports that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have added at least two aircraft and a chopper to their arsenal.
It’s learnt that Colombo will send a team of senior defence officials over the weekend to discuss the technical details. New Delhi is willing to offer training of personnel, guidance and advice in designing the air defence of the country besides help to get new radar systems.

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who started her three-day visit to India today, is said to have discussed the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this evening in the context of larger defence cooperation between both countries. Ahead of her hour-long meeting, Kumaratunga had said Sri Lanka will like to soon have a defence agreement with India.

Colombo had sought Indian assistance soon after it found out about LTTE’s newly acquired possessions. Sources said Sri Lanka has never addressed the issue of air defence very seriously with the focus largely being on maritime security. The country never anticipated a major air strike and so, little attention has been paid to developing its radar network.

Besides, the secondary radar network used for civil aviation purposes, Colombo does not have its airspace fully secured through radars leaving enough space for small aircraft to operate at low altitudes. But with a threat from within its own territory now, Sri Lanka is looking to revamp and re-design its air defence systems.

The Sri Lankan defence team will hold talks with officials of the Integrated Defence Staff here. The focus will be on developing an integrated system that links up different military systems used for monitoring airspace of land and sea. Short of supplying aircraft, sources said, New Delhi is is willing to positively consider all proposals from Colombo.

While there have been reports on LTTE’s air capabilities, the assessment here is that it has got two aircraft—a six-seater and a four-seater with a range of 500-1000 km—and a chopper. The planes seem to have been bought somewhere in Ukraine while the helicopter is a French make. An airstrip is also believed to have come up in the Kilinochchi area.

URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story ... t_id=71603

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