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India to Upgrade Sri Lanka's Air Defense System


India has agreed to help Sri Lanka upgrade its air defense system amid media reports that the Tamil Tiger rebels are trying to acquire air power.

The agreement was announced at a joint news conference in Colombo by Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and his visiting Indian counterpart, Natwar Singh. Mr. Singh said a broader defense cooperation agreement between the two countries, "is in the process of being completed."

Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels have admitted having an airstrip that can take small aircraft in the northern territory that they control. Local media reports say at least one airplane was seen there.

Mr. Singh met with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse Friday and was also scheduled to meet with President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
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