JF-17 thunder fighter jets
Sri Lanka has cancelled its plans to procure JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan, Picture: A JF-17 fighter jeten.wikipedia.org

Sri Lanka has cancelled its plan to procure 10-12 fighter jets from Pakistan due to stiff opposition from India. In a diplomatic missive sent across to Sri Lanka a few weeks ago, India pointed out various reasons why the island country should not purchase the JF-17 fighter jets from Pakistan.

India had objected to the $400-million military deal between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and also cited a negative technical assessment. India claimed Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) did not need fighter jets, The Indian Express said.

According to reports, Pakistan had been pushing for the sale of the JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, priced approximately $35 million each. Last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met his counterpart in Sri Lanka to sign several deals on combating terrorism, health and bilateral ties, but the JF-17 deal was not signed, Press Trust of India reported.

Six years after the LTTE war ended, Sri Lanka has increased its defence spending budget. 

India on the other hand, had offered Sri Lanka its fighter jet Tejas, The Indian Express said.

The Sri Lankan Air Force is home to the Kfir fighter and Chengdu J-7 squadrons.

A leading African Defence news portal claims the Nigerian Air Force is now planning to acquire three JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan in 2016, and is reportedly set to value the deal at $25 million. It will also buy two Mi-35M attack helicopters and super Mushak trainers.

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