SLAF steps up reconnaissance flights over IMBL | Sunday Observer
Move to prevent Indian vessels infiltration

SLAF steps up reconnaissance flights over IMBL

10 May, 2021

Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has increased its reconnaissance flights in coordination with the Navy vessels along the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) in the Palk Straits to prevent any form of Indian fishing vessels infiltrating into the Northern waters of the country, SLAF Spokesman Group Capt. Dushan Wijesinghe said.

He told the Sunday Observer that apart from the routine reconnaissance flights in the Northern waters, SLAF aircraft have been deployed extensively in recent weeks to monitor the movements of Indian fishing vessels in the region. “As we are all very much aware of the increase of the Covid-19 pandemic with an enormous number of deaths in India, the SLAF remains extra-cautious in the Palk Straits to check on Indian vessels infiltrating into Sri Lankan waters. Once we spot the Indian vessels we inform the Naval vessels,” he said.

He added that the SLAF reconnaissance flights leave the Ratmalana Air Base and from China Bay in Trincomalee and they cover the Northern waters from the Mannar Gulf area to the Northern airspace.

He said with the increase in the reconnaissance flights, the SLAF was successful in monitoring the Indian fishing vessels and alerting the Navy in the Northern waters.

Elaborating on the aircraft deployed in reconnaissance flights along the IMBL, Capt. Dushan Wijesinghe said that aircraft such as Beach craft, Y-12, Mike-60 as well as Bell-212 helicopters and Russian built M-17 have been used for reconnaissance purposes.

“However, Beach craft, Y-12 and Mike-60 are deployed frequently along the IMBL in the Northern waters, he said.

Navy Spokesman Capt. Indika de Silva told the Sunday Observer that infiltration of Indian fishing vessels into Sri Lankan waters have dropped drastically in recent weeks following the increase in the air and sea patrol along the IMBL in the Palk Straits.

“As a precautionary measure, the Indian fishing vessels which enter Sri Lankan waters are sent back and not permitted to land on the country’s coast”, Capt. Indika de Silva said.