lacuna holds up helmet exports
By Lenin Amarawickrama
A lacuna in the law appears to be holding up what
could be the first export of ballistic helmets made by a Sri Lankan
firm, Harsha International, for peacekeeping forces in Iraq.
company, which has also supplied body armour for United Nations
mine clearing personnel, has received an order for 200 helmets from
the Saudi Arabian government to be worn by its peace keeping troops
deployed in Iraq.
it is unable to fulfill the order because there apparently is no
law or procedure for the export of such material from Sri Lanka.
"We first received the 200-helmet order on May 14 and are ready
queried about the customs procedure and then they referred the matter
to the Defence Ministry. We're still waiting for the reply,"
said Ajitha Wijetunga, a director of the Harsha International. The
company makes military defence equipment for both local and foreign
said he had previously made and exported similar helmets to Japan
and Italy but for civilian use. He said it appeared the problem
was that there was no legal provision for the export of military-type
a marine engineer, said he developed the helmet after doing his
own research. His firm uses what's called Shield Aromide Technology
developed in France. "Our helmet weighs only one kilo. It covers
a wider area of the head than other helmets." The company has
also received inquires from Cambodia and Bangladesh for its helmets.