Govt signs agreement with Indian EXIM Bank to purchase 2 aircraft for GDF

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

As the government continues to bolster the capabilities of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Finance Minister, Dr Ashni K. Singh on Friday signed a Line of Credit (LOC) Agreement of US$23.27 million with the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank), for the procurement of two aircraft.

Signing on behalf of the Indian EXIM Bank was its Deputy General Manager – Line of Credit Group, Sanjay Lamba.

This agreement represents the latest instalment of the Government’s ongoing effort to ramp up the capabilities of the GDF, and has its genesis in President Ali’s visit to India’s state-owned aerospace and defence company – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, in January 2023.

Dr Singh, while delivering remarks, placed on record the government’s strong appreciation of India’s unwavering support to Guyana, and alluded to the two countries’ long-standing relationship grounded in history, people, and culture, and in more recent times, economic and commercial cooperation. In welcoming Lamba to Guyana, Dr Singh also recognised the EXIM Bank’s instrumental role in facilitating the presence of Indian companies in Guyana, thereby allowing for the expansion of productive capacity in various sectors of the country.

It was on this note that the minister noted, “we want to see more Indian companies doing business in Guyana, we are open to companies from around the world, including of course India, and Indian is amongst the economies that are at the cutting edge of technology, and we want to receive the benefit of that cutting edge technology.”

In reiterating the government’s commitment to bolstering the country’s security sector, Minister Singh explained that the Government is investing heavily in strengthening the capabilities of the GDF, in particular, in some of its specialised wings, such as the Air Corps and the Coast Guard. He further said that the purchase of the two aircraft is part of the biggest-ever investment in the capitalisation of the force thus far.

The minister also thanked Lamba and team for the Bank’s tremendous efforts in concluding the LOC and acknowledged the efforts of everyone else who contributed, including High Commissioner Dr Telang and team from the Indian High Commission, Chief of Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Omar Khan and team, and Chief Planning Officer, Dr. Tarachand Balgobin, and other technical staff of the Ministry of Finance.

High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr Amit Telang, during remarks, said that India attaches great importance to the relationship it shares with Guyana, and the signing of the LOC is just another means of cementing its partnership with Guyana. He further placed on record that today’s Agreement is the first-ever defence LOC signed with the Caribbean region.

Lamba, who is visiting for the first time, during his remarks said that working with the Government of Guyana has been very satisfactory, and he looks forward to a continued relationship between Guyana and the Bank.

Chief of Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Omar Khan, while speaking on behalf of the defence sector, recognised the role that the Government of India has played in defence training over decades in Guyana and noted that today’s signing is in keeping with President Ali’s vision of a strengthened security sector that will help to maintain the peace and prosperity for One Guyana.

With the signing of today’s LOC Agreement, the Government of Guyana to date, has received eleven (11) LOCs from the Indian EXIM Bank over the years.

Guyana and India established diplomatic relations on May 26, 1966, and continue to have a robust developmental cooperation programme aimed towards the mutual benefit of both countries.