COLOMBO: Stiff opposition from India has forced Sri Lanka to drop plans, at least for now, to buy JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft from Pakistan, an Indian newspaper reports.

The Sunday Express said it has learnt that New Delhi shot off a diplomatic missive a few weeks ago to Colombo on why Sri Lank should not buy the Pakistan made JF-17 Thunder, including a negative technical assessment of the aircraft. It was also pointed out that Sri Lanka's defense requirements did not need fighters .

While questions were raised in Sri Lanka too about the reported $400-million deal, India's forceful opposition, conveyed through a non-paper, was one of the likely reasons that made Sri Lanka drop the plan for now.

Despite its own financial crunch, Pakistan was also said to be ready to extend a line of credit to Sri Lanka for the aircraft.

Terming the reports as "incorrect," Mahishini Colonne, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that "if there arises a requirement for Sri Lanka to procure aircraft of this nature, in keeping with the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka to maintain transparency, expressions of interest will be called for, from all concerned."

The Sunday Express said the Indian government delivered the non-paper - diplomatic parlance for a white sheet of paper without a letterhead or signature - to Colombo at the highest levels about three weeks ago after reports that Pakistan was seriously engaging the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) on the Chinese fighter aircraft to replace the SLAF's ageing fleet of Israeli Kfirs and MiG-27s.