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Indian Navy transfers Dornier aircraft to Mauritius as stopgap measure

The Indian Navy has transferred a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dornier 228 turboprop aircraft to the Mauritius Police Force, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 14 September.

The passenger variant aircraft will be operated by the National Coast Guard branch of the Mauritius Police Force as a loan unit while it awaits the delivery of another new Dornier 228 signed under a contract inked with HAL. It will be the service's fourth aircraft of the type in its fleet.

The MoD statement provided scant details on the latest contract. However, in an interview published by the Government Information Service (GIS) of Mauritius' social media page on the same day, the High Commissioner of India to Port Louis, Nandini Singla, disclosed that it was signed between the two parties in February 2021.

“As you may know, Mauritius is procuring a new passenger variant Dornier aircraft under a USD100 million dollar line of credit extended by India. And this aircraft today has been provided by India on a gratis basis till such time the new aircraft lands here in Mauritius,” said Singla.

Mauritius is faced with an “increased load of air operations” spanning exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surveillance, maritime piracy and illegal fishing patrols, and search-and-rescue duties, she added.

“We do not want Mauritius to wait till the new commercially procured aircraft arrives and I'm very happy that we were able to do this within six months of signing the letter of exchange in February 2021,” Singla added in reference to the contract.

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