SL to buy Russian arms

Sri Lanka has secured a 300-million-dollar loan from Russia to upgrade its military, the foreign ministry in Colombo said while reports from Moscow said the loan is buy small arms from Russia. Technology transfer is also mentioned as a sugar coating on the deal signed during the week end visit of President Rajapaksa to the Kremlin.

“We are looking at technology transfers, including new technology for our military, new satellite technology, through this agreement,” Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said.

Rajapakse and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev also discussed technology cooperation in the fields of oil exploration, renewable energy, aviation and tourism, Bogollagama said.

Bogollagama gave no details of the Russian credit, but RIA-Novosti said Sri Lanka would have access to financing for five years to buy Russian weapons with a repayment period of 10 years.

Russia, China and Pakistan have been the main arms suppliers to Sri Lanka during the 37-year long ethnic conflict with  Tamil Tigers that ended in May with the army running over the Tiger hideouts and eliminating the top leadership.

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