Sri Lanka to sign USD 150 million arms deal with Iran

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 January 2005, 11:34 GMT]
Sri Lanka is to buy over USD 150 million of arms from Iran, the Sunday Times reported this week. A high-powered Sri Lankan military delegation led by Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda has left for Tehran this week to conclude the deal which was outlined when President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga went to Iran in November last year, the paper said.

"Sri Lanka will procure military hardware and oil on concessionary terms. The deal is said to be worth over US $ 150 million," the Sunday Times said.

"The delegation is to take a look at the wide variety of military hardware available. The Army has identified its requirements after a delegation visited Iran earlier. The Navy and the Air Force will check on requirements. Thereafter the tri services procurements are to be incorporated in an agreement," the paper said.

"This is the first time the Government is turning to Iran for procuring a broader variety of military hardware on a government-to-government basis. A similar deal was finalised last month with China," the paper pointed out.

The high-powered military delegation is led by Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda and comprises Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrema and Director, Aeronautical Engineering of the Air Force. Air Vice Marshal Lal Perera.

Other members of the delegation are Army: Brigadier Nimal Jayasuriya, a one time Director (Operations) and now officiating General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 52 Division in Jaffna (Thenmaratchchi); Navy: Director, Naval Engineering Commodore D.N. Dharmaweera, Director, Naval Electrical and Electronics Commodore J.C. Hettigama and Commanding Officer, SLNS Uttara base in Kankesanthurai, Captain K.D. Nanayakkara; Air Force: Group captain Rohan Pathirage Commanding Offcer, Air Force Electronic and Engineering Wing, Ratmalana. Also in the delegation is D.L. Wimalasena, Accountant in the Ministry of Defence.


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