COLOMBO (Web Desk) – Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Tuesday signed a deal despite Indian threats, under which SL will buy eight JF-17 Thunder aircraft from Pakistan.
According to sources, Sri Lanka has shown interest in purchase of Pakistan-China collaboration, JF-17 Thunder aircrafts. But India has threatened Sri Lanka to refrain from purchasing JF-Thunder air crafts from Pakistan otherwise India will stop extending financial assistance to it.
Media reports say, Sri Lankan Government is facing mounting pressure from its powerful neighbour India over a defence deal Sri Lanka is to enter into with Pakistan. According to highly placed sources in the diplomatic circles, India has expressed its strong opposition to a deal the SL Government entered into with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to purchase 10 JF-17 combat aircraft.
JF-17 Thunder is cheaper than United States (US) fighter jets and Sri Lanka will be the first country to purchase JF-17s from Pakistan. Authorities have said that the order would be ready by the end of 2017.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka signed eight memorandums of understanding (MoUs) of cooperation in the fields of commerce, defence and regional stability.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena administered the MoU singing ceremony in Colombo.
Speaking on the occasion the premier said that Sri Lanka and Pakistan have a long history of mutual cooperation and their ties even grow stronger after this visit. Both countries share same point of view on several regional issues, he added.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are key countries of south Asian region and they can play significant role in regional stability, Nawaz Sharif said.
On the occasion he invited Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to visit Pakistan. He also hinted at giving Sri Lanka the most favoured nation (MFN) status in trade.
Earlier, delegation level talks between Pakistan and Sri Lanka were held underway at Presidential Palace where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led the Pakistani delegation while Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena headed the Sri Lankan side.
Pakistani delegation included Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of Defense Production Rana Tanveer Hussain, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Advisor on National Security Nasir Khan Janjua.
Upon his arrival in Presidential Palace, a formal welcome ceremony was held in honour of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Colombo.