Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe was present at the handover ceremony which took place on a day when India celebrated its 76th Independence Day and a day before a high-tech Chinese missile and satellite tracking ship docks at the island nation’s Hambantota port.

Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade, who was on a two-day visit to the country, accompanied by Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Gopal Baglay, handed over the maritime surveillance aircraft to the Sri Lanka Navy at the Sri Lanka Air Force base in Katunayake, adjoining the Colombo international airport.

“Security of India and Srilanka is enhanced by mutual understanding, mutual trust and cooperation. Gifting of Dornier 228 is India’s latest contribution to this cause,” High Commissioner Baglay said at the handing over event.

The aircraft is being provided to Sri Lanka from the inventory of the Indian Navy to help the country meet its immediate security requirement, sources in New Delhi said. The Indian Navy has already provided extensive training to a team from Sri Lanka’s Navy and the Air Force to operate the maritime surveillance aircraft.