India on Thursday handed over a Dornier surveillance aircraft, built by the defence public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), to Seychelles to help build its own air force fleet.
Seychelles, an Indian Ocean island nation that enjoys close relations with India, will use the plane for carrying out patrols of its waters and exclusive economic zone against poachers, pirates and maritime terrorists. Defence Minister A K Antony handed over the keys of the plane to Seychelles Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam at an event at the Palam air force base here. The plane, built at HAL’s Kanpur facility, will be taken to the Aero-India military air show in Bangalore from February 6 to 10 as part of static display. From Bangalore, it will be flown to Seychelles by IAF pilots.
Antony described the occasion as “another milestone” in the defence cooperation between the two countries. Antony said the plane is a frontline surveillance platform for applications like maritime reconnaissance, intelligence warfare, search and rescue, pollution control and transport.
Jean Paul Adam, thanking New Delhi for the aircraft, said it would revolutionise the coastal surveillance of Seychelles.
“It will not only help Seychelles to fight piracy, but would come as a useful platform for security in a broader way,” he said.