“New day in India-Guyana relations” – High Commissioner

…as US$23.27M planes delivered by Indian Aeronautics company

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), as part of Line of Credit the Government of India had extended to Guyana, has delivered two Dornier 228 planes to the Guyana Defense Force (GDF), with the Asian giant hailing the milestone as the beginning of a new chapter in bilateral relations between India and Guyana.
Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr Amit Telang, was on hand at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) to welcome the Indian Air Force (IAF) team that accompanied the HAL-228 aircrafts when they arrived on March 31. A statement from the Indian High Commission described it as “a new chapter in India-Guyana partnership.”

The Indian-made Dornier 228 aircraft

Meanwhile, the GDF had explained in a post announcing the arrival of the planes, that they arrived on board two Boeing C-17 Globemaster military transport planes from the IAF. Now that they are here, GDF noted that they have to be established.
“Over the next month, the aircraft will be assembled by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) team. Afterwards, the aircraft will be handed over to the Government of Guyana and integrated into the Guyana Defense Force Air Corps Fleet,” GDF further explained.
HAL is an Indian aerospace company that was founded in the 1940s. Back in February 2023, it had been announced that Guyana was in talks with the Government of India to procure patrolling vessels and a Dornier aircraft to better protect Guyana’s maritime boundaries.
India and Guyana have already established strong defence cooperation, with several GDF members undergoing various levels of training with the Indian military. And the idea of Guyana acquiring aircraft from India was first raised back in January 2023, when Ali visited the Asian nation, where he toured the Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company in Kanpur and inspected their CG-767 Indian Coast Guard 18-seater Dornier aircraft.
The Guyanese leader was also given a presentation on the company’s capacity and capabilities.
According to reports coming out of that visit, President Ali indicated an interest in purchasing two of the India-manufactured Dornier 228 aircraft for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), which has an aged fleet.
And just last month, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Ashni Singh, had signed a Line of Credit (LOC) Agreement of US$23.27 million, with the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank), to procure the two aircrafts.
Dubbed Guyana’s first major defence deal with India, this development to procure defence assets from the Asian Government comes on the heels of the Irfaan Ali-led Administration taking significant steps to modernise the GDF with the acquisition of new equipment and supplies, as well as capacity-building.
As a matter of fact, then Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Godfrey Bess had attended the Aero India Defence Exhibition and seminar hosted by the Indian Government in Bengaluru early last year.
While there, Brigadier Bess also had an interview with WION during which he said that over the last two years, there has been a lot of training, building human capacity, and collaborating with the militaries of both countries.
“We plan to increase that collaboration so that we can continue to prepare our Defence Force for greater things, particularly since Guyana has been known to be the fastest-growing economy.
We have ensured there is a conducive environment for investors and the people of Guyana. We do recognise we need to build capacity and capabilities regarding defence and security and we do see India as a very strategic partner in this regard,” the GDF Head had stated.
He had further told the Indian news channel that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is in the works to be signed between Guyana and India which will foster their defence cooperation.
“Presently, we are looking at the proposal, as it relates to air assets and naval assets for our country and for sure, as we continue to collaborate, having gone around the exhibition over the last two days, there are a lot of other assets and capabilities that Guyana will be interested [in acquiring from India],” he had noted.
However, Brigadier Bess had disclosed that at the initial stage, Guyana’s focus will be on building its air asset capacity in order to move its troops across the country as well as to assist with disaster-related activities. He contended that the Dornier aircraft is “actually suiting the capability we would like to have”.
According to reports, the Dornier 228 planes are being used by India’s Coast Guard to support maritime patrols but they can also be used for marine pollution contingency, search and rescue and medical evacuation.