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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sri Lanka buys China planes weeks after Russia helicopter deal

China has delivered two passenger planes to boost Sri Lanka’s post-war aviation industry, the island’s air force said on Monday, as the South Asian nation seeks non-Western sources of financial assistance amid Western-led allegations of war crimes.Since the end of the war with Tamil Tigers separatists in May 2009, Russia, China and India have increased cooperation with Sri Lanka and are among its biggest benefactors in terms of global political capital.

China, Sri Lanka’s largest source of funding in 2009 and 2010, has lent at least $3.43 billion since the end of the war for infrastructure projects including sea and air ports, coal power plants, and express highways.

Russia and China, both with U.N. Security Council vetoes, take a general stand that states have a right to police internal conflicts without outside interference.

They have been Sri Lanka’s bulwarks against Western pressure to probe allegations of war crimes from the final months of the civil conflict.

The air force said two MA 60 twin-engine turboprop aircraft with seating for 56 passengers would be used for domestic commercial flights before expanding the service to the region through Helitours, its commercial arm handling charter flights and helicopters.

In August, the air force bought 14 Russian military Mi-171 helicopters. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Nick Macfie)



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