As per Indian Media, Sri Lanka has cancelled its plan to purchase fighter jets from Pakistan due to stiff opposition from India. In a diplomatic missive sent across to Sri Lanka a few weeks ago, India raised her concerns why the island country should not purchase the JF-17 fighter jets from Pakistan.
India had objected to the $400-million military deal between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and also cited a negative technical assessment. Moreover, India claimed Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) did not need fighter jets.
Pakistan had been pushing for the sale of the JF-17 Thunder fighter jets for quite some time. The aircraft is priced approximately $35 million each. In the last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met his counterpart in Sri Lanka to sign several deals on combating terrorism, health and bilateral ties. Now, it appears that the the JF-17 deal was not signed.
In the recent years, Sri Lanka has increased its defence spending budget.
On the other hand, India had offered Sri Lanka its fighter jet Tejas, an aircraft which has been in making for the last 30 years or so.
It is pertinent to note that at one point India is questioning the very need of inducting new jet fighter in Sri Lanka Air Force and at the same time pushing the government to purchase its struggling aircraft. Not to forget, India is posing to develop warm relations with Nawaz government. By forbiding Sri Lanakan government to scrap plans for the JF-17, it is clear that India is not sincere to so called ‘peace’ dialgoyue with Pakistan.
Currently, the Sri Lankan Air Force is operating the Kfir and Chengdu J-7 airvraft.