ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 7, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 19

Czechs willing to supply hi-tech military equipment

By Bandula Sirimanna

The Czech Republic is willing to supply hi-tech military and radar equipment with modern technology to Sri Lanka, its ambassador (based in New Delhi) Dr. Hyneck Kmonicek told The Sunday Times this week. He said he also made the offer during a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo on Friday.

Dr. Kmonicek

Dr. Kmonicek said his country was willing to supply radar equipment with most modern technology which can even detect a Stealth plane and subsonic jets, and also hi-tech military equipment produced in accordance with NATO standards. The Czech Republic is not producing tanks, tank transporters, multi-barrel rocket launchers and other military items, as in the past.

The offer comes just as Foreign Secretary Dr: Palitha Kohona leads a Sri Lankan delegation to Prague in November in a visit to further improve bilateral relations. The Czech Foreign Minister will also be visiting Sri Lanka in January next year, the ambassador said.

In 2001, Sri Lanka imported a shipment of arms worth more than Rs 2.5 million from the Czech Republic. The shipment included tanks, tank transporters and multi-barrel rocket launchers. Dr. Kmonicek said he informed the President and Foreign Ministry officials that the Czech Republic could provide mini mobile airports to Sri Lanka. However he said his talks with the President and officials were mainly centered on improving bilateral trade and investment and not on military logistics procurements.

The Czech Republic is exploring the possibility of increasing its exports to Sri Lanka while providing opportunities to Sri Lankan investors to enter into its market to promote economic relations more vigorously. At present the trade balance is in favour of Sri Lanka with the country’s exports to the Czech Republic at US$621 million and its imports at around US$321 million last year. Dr. Kmonicek said he expressed willingness during his talks with the President and Foreign Ministry officials, to motivate Czech companies operating in South India to set up branches and joint ventures in Sri Lanka to produce power generators, turbines and electrical equipment and motor vehicles under the famous Skoda brand.

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