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Indo- Lanka ties takes a hit

2 February 2021 08:10 am - 19     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Relations between Sri Lanka and India hit a new low yesterday after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka will not go ahead with the agreement to jointly manage the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port with India and Japan.

Sources in New Delhi told the Daily Mirror that the Indian Government is likely to express serious disappointment at Sri Lanka’s decision at a higher level.

While India is expected to maintain its interest on Sri Lanka and continue funding key projects to counter China’s stronghold on the island, the decision not to implement the agreement signed in 2019 will however see strong reactions from Delhi, sources said.

The Memorandum of Cooperation among the three Governments of Sri Lanka, Japan and India on the development of the East Container Terminal located in the Colombo South Port was signed in Colombo on May 28, 2019. Then Ports and Shipping and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka who signed the agreement on behalf of Sri Lanka in 2019 insisted that the ECT was not “sold” to India or Japan.

“The original discussion was for them to operate it for 35 years but we later brought it down.we had a consultant working with us and we were to work it all out by November.

But there was a government change,” he said.

He told the Daily Mirror that there was also no opposition to the agreement at the time and that Sri Lanka stood to greatly benefit from the deal.

As per the 2018 agreement India and Japan were to have a 49% stake collectively in the Terminal Operations Company that was to be set up with the exclusive and explicit purpose of providing the equipment and systems necessary for the development of the ECT and managing the ECT for long periods. Under the agreement the stake of 51% of the TOC was to belong to the Government of Sri Lanka under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). It was recently speculated that Chinese intelligence agencies were behind the opposition by trade unions to the ECT deal. Indian diplomatic sources told the Daily Mirror they are still of the strong view that Chinese agencies were funding some protests against the ECT. However, there has not been any evidence to back the claims.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Colombo issued a quick response after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that the ECT will be fully managed by Sri Lanka.

“I would like to reiterate the expectation of the Government of India for expeditious implementation of the trilateral Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) signed in May 2019 among the Governments of India, Japan and Sri Lanka for the development of ECT with participation from these three countries,” a spokesperson at the Indian High Commission in Colombo told reporters.

The spokesperson said that the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka with regard to the ECT has been conveyed several times in the recent past, including at leadership level.

“Sri Lanka cabinet also took a decision three months ago to implement the project with foreign investors,” the spokesperson said. (Easwaran Rutnam)

  Comments - 19

  • Ranaweera Tuesday, 02 February 2021 08:42 AM

    Say no to funds from India. They will send their people to settle here.

    Ding Dong Tuesday, 02 February 2021 08:44 AM

    SL is a new state of China

    Being human Tuesday, 02 February 2021 08:50 AM

    As now the corona vaccines have come from India, he will talk anything fr granted....

    Sach Tuesday, 02 February 2021 08:55 AM

    IIndia is offered western terminal with more shares.

    Mandayan Tuesday, 02 February 2021 09:04 AM

    An islets between Jaffna and Tamilnadu are going to the Chinese. Good.

    BuffaloaCitizen Tuesday, 02 February 2021 11:07 AM

    India needs to realize Sinhalese have a low level culture of fighting his own brother for 30 years with much loss to life and limb, while selling his sovereignty, women and ethics to those who are far and remotely not belonging to his culture nor way of life.

    Neo Tuesday, 02 February 2021 11:12 AM

    This is while our people have zero gratitude for the government that is doing it's best to reverse the agreements entered by the previous govt.

    abc Tuesday, 02 February 2021 11:14 AM

    lol SJB is acting like they don't know anything while Indian reveals that there was a pact signed in 2018 and 2019. Such low political stooges these SJB bunch.

    Kathir Tuesday, 02 February 2021 11:39 AM

    Without Chinese permission Sri Lanka can not accept any deal with India except Indian vaccins And dhal chillies

    Punchi Banda Tuesday, 02 February 2021 12:25 PM

    Maybe now the Indians will realise that the Shingalese Buddhist Supremacy mindset is incapable of keeping any binding externally to India and internally to the Hindu Tamils

    Independent Tuesday, 02 February 2021 12:34 PM

    China's stance is simple. "CHINA ONLY". Thanks to the Easter attack this govt came into power. We don't know the 'real' mastermind of this attack yet. Anyway, now it's it's time for the Govt to do their task given by China to help them achieve their long term goals in Indian ocean. It's "CHINA ONLY"

    Ram Tuesday, 02 February 2021 02:31 PM

    India our Big Brother should not Bully us

    Ramu Tuesday, 02 February 2021 03:56 PM

    When SL needed help to bring down the militancy faced by your country you went on your begging knees seeking help. If not today it would have been a country of Sinhalao and Eelam. Remember it. If India wanted even now it can go back to status co ! Be grateful to INDIA

    Tom Tuesday, 02 February 2021 04:32 PM

    Why India raised commission percentage? ECT is golden necklace

    Ups Tuesday, 02 February 2021 04:34 PM

    If agreed on favor of India ,it would be Waterloo of Rajapaksha

    AB Tuesday, 02 February 2021 04:40 PM

    It's very undiplomatic, the statement issued after, announcement from PM's office,this remind me the state of mind of 'Serivanija', character comes in Buddhist literature,Serivanija jattaka

    lord pakeer Tuesday, 02 February 2021 04:42 PM

    i am sure some " so called Sri Lankans" must be very happy, specially the 3%

    MN Tuesday, 02 February 2021 04:45 PM

    Rajapakshas managed to jump this hurdle as well,real losers are SJB ,INLand SLFP who tried to disowned selling of ECT

    Idiot Boy Tuesday, 02 February 2021 07:01 PM

    Govt is on Right way. Congrats.


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