The Government has denied reports that it has struck a deal with Pakistan for the purchase of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, The Hindu newspaper reported.
“The matter did not even come up for discussion during the talks [with the Pakistani government],”, Defence Secretary, Karunasena Hettiarachchi told The Hindu , adding that his government was still considering the purchase of fighter jets.
Terming the reports as “incorrect,” spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mahishini Colonne, responded, saying that “if there arises a requirement for Sri Lanka to procure aircraft of this nature, in keeping with the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka to maintain transparency, expressions of interest will be called for, from all concerned.”
According to the reports, Sri Lanka has been under pressure from the Indian government not to go ahead.
Sections of the press, in the last few months, also carried reports that India had offered to Sri Lanka “Tejas,” a variant of Light Combat Aircraft, to counter Pakistan’s bid to sell JF-17 fighters, which were developed in collaboration with China. (Colombo Gazette)