India has gifted a Dornier-228 surveillance aircraft to Seychelles. The long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft was handed over by Defence Minister A.K. Antony to the Foreign Minister of Seychelles, Jean Paul Adam, this week.

The maritime surveillance aircraft will be needed to guard the extensive coastline of the Indian Ocean island nation. The Dornier 228 is manufactured by the defence public sector undertaking (DPSU) Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), at its Kanpur factory. HAL will also give maintenance support to Seychelles in order to enable the new user to get the requisite expertise.

The DO-228 is a highly reliable, multi-purpose, fuel efficient, rugged, lightweight twin turbo prop aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear.

It may be noted that India is the only country where Dornier-228s are manufactured in the world.

Earlier, India had leased one Dornier-228 to Seychelles, which was taken back later. The aircraft is already used by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The Dornier can perform functions like maritime reconnaissance, intelligence warfare, search and rescue, pollution control and transport. It will also help Seychelles to fight piracy, but would come as a useful platform for security in a broader way. The move is being seen as an extension of India’s Look East policy.

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