The air show at Galle Face, Colombo, saw the participation of an IAF contingent comprising the Suryakiran and Sarang aerobatic display teams and the Tejas LCA. Indian Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria arrived in Colombo on a two-day visit and attended the inaugural ceremony of an air show celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). The SLAF celebrated its anniversary on March 2 and it conducted an air show to commemorate the occasion.

In a Twitter statement, the IAF said, “Flying along the coast at #GalleFace with immaculate skills and executing precise manoeuvres, Team IAF has won the hearts of the Lions for a second day in a row”.

About SLAF

That SLAF was founded in 1951 and it had even played a major role throughout the Sri Lankan civil war. It operates more than 160 aircraft and has a projected trained strength of over 27,000 airmen and 1,300 officers. The SLAF has expanded to specialise mainly in providing air support to ground forces, troop landing, and carrying out airstrikes on rebel-held areas in the Northern and Eastern theatres, but is also capable of high-and-low-level air defence.

IAF And SLAF Relations

IAF and SLAF, for a number of years, have been seen sharing space for diverse field interactions including operational exchanges and training. Ministry of Defence informed that the IAF Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) had taken part in an air display in Sri Lanka in 2001 for the 50th-anniversary celebration of the SLAF. An official statement issued by the IAF stated, "IAF & SLAF have seen active exchanges and interactions for a number of years in diverse fields like training, operational exchanges and through professional military education courses. IAFs participation in the 70th-anniversary celebration of SLAF is a further manifestation of the strong professional bonds that the two Air Forces share. The IAF Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) had earlier toured Sri Lanka in 2001 for the 50th-anniversary celebrations of SLAF."