India is to set up a mega manufacturing and export zone for engineering and manufacturing auto parts and also a pharmaceutical hub in Sri Lanka, India’s Trade and Commerce Minister stated.
Addressing a media on the sidelines of Friday’s inauguration of the ‘India Show’, Anand Sharma noted that an auto parts manufacturing zone would be set up in Trincomalee and be directly linked with some of India’s thriving automobile manufacturers.
Furthermore, a delegation of India’s top pharmaceutical players will be arriving in the island within the next 30 days to investigate and report back on the proposed pharmaceutical hub to be set up here.
A US$ 5 billion Indian i nvestment i n other various sectors such as tourism, are also in the pipeline.
Meanwhile following discussions between Sharma and his Sri Lankan counterparts, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, the two countries have also agreed to set up a task force to explore further investment opportunities.
This task force will comprise of industry representatives from pharmaceutical, construction, engineering, auto manufacturers and skills development sectors in addition to public officials from both governments.
“The manufacturing and export zone for auto parts and the pharmaceutical hub will be given top priority on the mandate of the joint task force,” Sharma said.
It was also revealed that a skills training centre for youth involved in the mechanics sector will be set up within the proposed Trincomalee zone.
Responding to a query raised by journalists as to the size of the investment of both projects, the Indian Commerce Minister stressed that a figure was still not decided on but added that it would be a substantial investment.
“I can assure you that we will not be holding anything back, and we are willing to give Sri Lanka everything necessary to make these projects a success,” Sharma added.
He went on to state that the two projects are expected to be completed very soon and work will commence as soon as the joint task force has met and completed its work within three months.
India’s pharmaceutical industry is the world’s third-largest in terms of volume and stands 14th in terms of value while the country’s automobile industry is one of the largest in the world and one of the fastest growing globally.
Meanwhile discussions were also held between Sharma, Rajapakse, Bathiudeen and Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama regarding investment potential in Sri Lanka and how the two countries could double trade to US$ 10 billion by 2015.
A CEO forum was also held on Saturday to discuss as to how India and Sri Lanka should proceed in achieving this task.
Announcing India’s interest on Sri Lanka’s oil explorations, Sharma stated that India was also very keen on expanding its presence in the on-going oil and gas explorations in Sri Lanka.
“We want to involve much more in both Mannar and Cauvery basin explorations,” he said.