India gifted a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft to Seychelles which will enhance the surveillance capabilities of the island nation. Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi announced a $100 million line of credit under which Seychelles can purchase military hardware from India. However, confusion remains on the nature of the cooperation between the two countries over the development of the Assumption Island. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built Do-228 aircraft was formally handed over by External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj who presented its airworthiness certificate to the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure who is on an official visit in India. “The handing over of HAL Do-228 to Seychelles reflects the firm commitment and continued engagement of the Government of India in further developing, consolidating and expanding the comprehensive multifaceted cooperation between India and Seychelles,” Ms. Swaraj said at the ceremony. Taking delivery of the aircraft, Mr. Faure called it a “historic day” and said it would bolster the coastal surveillance of Seychelles and provide strategic depth to policing its extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The aircraft is expected to be flown at the upcoming 42nd Independence Day celebrations of Seychelles on June 29. It will be operated by personnel from the Seychelles Air Force who have already been trained on its operation and maintenance. “We have provided hands-on training to the pilots and technical staff from Seychelles. We are committed to extend full-fledged support to the teams involved with its maintenance and operations of the aircraft,” Mr T. Suvarna Mr Raju, CMD, HAL said. This is the second Dornier to be gifted by India to Seychelles after the first one in January 2013. The second aircraft was announced by Mr. Modi during an official to the island nation in March 2015 following which the contracts were signed in March 2017. The Dornier is equipped with a 360 degree surveillance radar, forward looking Infra-red system, satellite communication, traffic collision and avoidance system, enhanced ground proximity warning system and other sensor as requested by the operator. The Do-228 can be used for multiple purposes like EEZ monitoring, maritime surveillance, pollution monitoring and control, search and rescue and commuter services.
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