India has transferred a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dornier 228 turboprop aircraft to the Mauritius Police Force, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on 14 September.
The 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.
The Indian Navy said the Do 228 aircraft (MSN 4059) was handed over to the Maritime Air Squadron of the National Coast Guard on 13 September.
Mauritius is grappling with an “increased load of air operations” spanning exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surveillance, maritime piracy and illegal fishing patrols, and search-and-rescue duties, so India gave the aircraft for free to support the current increased load of air operations, and that next year India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would deliver a brand new Do 228 to Mauritius (HAL manufactures the Do 228 in India). It will be the service’s fourth aircraft of the type in its fleet.
The new aircraft is being purchased through a line of credit between Mauritius and India.
“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.
“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 about the contract.
This new development is coming on the heels of the Indian government offering Mauritius a $100 million loan in March this year to procure needed security equipment for its Coast Guard.