India stalls 400 million dollar Pakistan fighter jet deal to Sri Lanka

In an apparent gain in the South Asian power struggle, India  has stalled a fighter jet deal between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as reported by the world's leading defence journal.

"Indian diplomatic pressure seems to have stalled Sri Lankan plans to procure JF-17 Thunder fighters from Pakistan," writes senior defence analyst Rahul Bedi in Jane's Defence Weekly.

Journalist quoting Pakistani defence authorities accompanying Prime Minister Nawas Sharif on a three day visit have reported that Sri Lanka has agreed to buy multi-role JF 17 fighter jets from Pakistan.

Sri Lanka denies

South Asian media reported that India offered its own HAL Tejas light combat aircraft in place of the JF-17, while coming heavily upon Sri Lanka to drop the Pakistan deal.

Jane's Defence Weekly quoting official sources in New Delhi said this influence had prevented Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from closing a deal for 10 to 12 JF-17s for around USD 400 million.

"The matter did not even come up for discussion during the talks with the Pakistani government," Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi has told The Hindu.

Sri Lanka foreign ministry denied any imminent move to buy fighter jets.

“if there arises a requirement for Sri Lanka to procure aircraft of this nature, in keeping with the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka to maintain transparency, expressions of interest will be called for, from all concerned,” Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne told journalists in Colombo.

Ending his three day visit to Sri Lanka on the 7th of January Nawas Sharif announced that Pakistan entered into bi-lateral agreements in the areas of trade promotion, culture, health, gem and jewellery, science & technology and combating money laundering and terror financing.

Pakistan tight-lipped

JF-17 Thunder is a joint production by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC). Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) Commander Gagan Bulathsinhala who visited Islamabad last November had been showcased the JF-17.

However, Pakistan government is yet to make an official announcement about the deal.