Guyana to buy Indian Dorniers, eyes other defence hardware: NSA Gouveia

Capt. Gerald Gouveia, Guyana’s National Security Adviser
Capt. Gerald Gouveia, Guyana’s National Security Adviser

Summary

In an interview, Capt. Gerald Gouveia, Guyana’s National Security Adviser, said Guyana and India will step up personnel training to improve military-to-military contacts.

NEW DELHI : Guyana will purchase two Dornier aircraft from India, said Capt. Gerald Gouveia, the South American nation’s National Security Adviser. The Dornier, built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, suits Guyana’s needs for aircraft to improve connectivity, he said in an interview, adding Guyana is also interested in purchasing patrol vessels, a fleet of armoured vehicles and radar systems. Guyana and India will also step up personnel training to improve military-to-military contacts. Edited excerpts:

What is the state of the defence relationship between India and Guyana?

This relationship is not new. A large part of our population is Indian, and our relationship with India is historical in nature. Particularly, I think that because we share some common values and principles with India, like the principles of democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights, it makes it palatable to deal with India. India and Guyana are working very closely in terms of trade, mining, agriculture and energy. The defence and security sector, where India has actually been amplifying its performance over the last many years, is becoming more and more attractive.

We are not an aggressive nation, so we are not looking to project power beyond our borders, but we are particularly looking to protect our borders, protect our natural resources, waterways or mining industry and to guard against drug operations in our country.

Are there any specific capabilities you are looking to acquire from India? There was conversation about Dornier aircraft.

We will be buying two of those aircraft. We are also looking at patrol ships. I met with some of the security and defence personnel yesterday, and companies, and we are looking at things like the vehicles that could be used for our internal security for moving police personnel. We need the radars to power domain awareness.

We need drones and we need anti-drone systems. A lot of the companies we’re dealing with in India, they’re big manufacturers of these things.

There’s a lot going on in terms of collaboration on cybersecurity and IT operations.

The plan is that we’re looking to buy a whole fleet of vehicles for the military from India. We are actually training a lot of officers right here in India. So there’s a lot of collaboration going on.

How does India compare with China as a partner of Guyana?

China is a very dear friend of Guyana and we have been friends with China for a very long time. But I believe that, for me, the relationship with India, and the things we’re going to be doing with India, is going to be more for quantifying in the immediate short term. But we have an excellent relationship with China as well. And we will continue to work with China

What is your expectation from Indian defense firms?

It’s no different from any commercial transaction, because what we want first of all is to be able to reliably ensure our product support after the purchase. We also want to have a very clear understanding of the operating costs and the maintenance costs. We don’t want to buy machines, and then be left halfway around the world without technical and product support systems. A big part of this discussion is not only the purchase of the planes but also understanding the operating costs and the technical performance of the planes and understanding how we keep these planes and equipment serviceable for the next 20 years.

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