In a move mirroring India’s efforts to strengthen security ties with Sri Lanka as part of its Indian Ocean outreach, Australia has announced its decision to gift an air force aircraft to enhance Sri Lanka’s sovereign aerial maritime surveillance capability. This gesture reflects Australia’s commitment to expanding cooperation and security collaboration with the island nation. The aim is to bolster Sri Lanka’s capabilities in monitoring its maritime domain and ensuring the safety and security of its territorial waters.

Australian Government has announced its intention to gift a former Royal Australian Air Force Beechcraft KA350 King Air aircraft (registration A32-673) to the Sri Lankan Government. The aircraft will be utilized to enhance Sri Lanka’s sovereign aerial maritime surveillance capability. This announcement was made during a meeting between an Australian delegation led by Australian High Commissioner Paul Stephens and President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat.

The donation of the aircraft reflects Australia’s commitment to bolstering collaboration and cooperation between the two countries. A key area of focus in the Australia-Sri Lanka relationship is countering transnational crime, including drug smuggling, and strengthening border management through intelligence sharing and efforts to deter, disrupt, intercept, and return maritime people smuggling operations under Operation Sovereign Borders.

The Australian Government highly values the ongoing cooperation, which has resulted in the disruption of numerous maritime people smuggling ventures and the protection of vulnerable individuals by preventing criminal exploitation, perilous sea journeys, and loss of life at sea.

In the wake of the visit by the Australian Minister for Home Affairs to Sri Lanka in June of the previous year, the Home Affairs Department has been actively driving various new initiatives in partnership with multiple Sri Lankan Government departments. Throughout the pursuit of these initiatives, Australia has underscored the significance of supporting Sri Lanka in developing its sovereign capabilities.