Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha today expressed his surprise at the lack of efforts to clear the misinformation and misimpressions that have been disseminated on the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) that have been in the works for several years but yet remain to be signed by the two countries.
Speaking at the Annual Research Symposium 2015 held at the Colombo University this morning, the Indian High Commissioner pointed to the fact that although CEPA was drafted with a plan of promoting greater interaction economically and commercially, the misinformation that has been circulated with regard to the clauses in the draft agreement has shed a negative light on it.
Mr. Sinha said he was amused to read some of the reports that have been surfacing even recently on CEPA that have shed an unconstructive light on the agreement.
“They state a large number of Indians would come to Sri Lanka including barbers, lawyers and professors even and that they would take over Sri Lanka . . . These claims are amusing and completely untrue,” he said.
“What surprises me the most is that there is no empirical research to lay the proper facts before the people here,” he said.
He then referred to a recent print media report that referred to the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka and the accountability mechanism - which quoting a political leader- had stated that if the UN resolution was allowed to be implemented, Indian lawyers would arrive in Sri Lanka and commence their practices in the country.
“It is puzzling as to how Indian lawyers came into the picture,” the High Commissioner said while pointing out that they are the results of misinformation and highlighted further on the importance of clarifying such erroneous reports.
Moving back to the CEPA that is yet to be signed between Sri Lanka and India, HC Sinha noted that despite the misinformation, the drafts negotiated between the two governments that remain to be signed, only referred to two areas where Sri Lanka would open up to Indian professionals; computer and computer related services and marine sector – specifically the ship repair sector.
“All this while India would open up 20 professions initially to Sri Lanka and expand later,” he added. (Lakna Paranamanna)