proposed investment by India and Japan in Colombo East terminal as a win-win
opportunity, Indian high commissioner in Sri Lanka Gopal Baghlay said India
would be happy to see an early implementation of this project.
strategic position could be fully tapped in conjunction with the huge Indian
market. Through this project the island nation can achieve its goal of becoming
connectivity and energy hub of the region, the high commissioner said in a
detailed interview to a Colombo based newspaper.
Baghlay Indian High commissioner Sri Lanka gave to Daily Mirror Colombo based
newspaper on December tenth
How serious is India
about this project?
The development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) is mooted once again
as a project to be undertaken through an equity sharing arrangement. How
serious is India about this project?
As you know a
trilateral Memorandum of Cooperation was concluded in 2019 among India, Japan
and Sri Lanka regarding the development and operation of the ECT.
participation in the ECT ensures continuity to the strong shipping ties between
India and Sri Lanka
in Sri Lanka, have pointed out that having India as a partner in the project
would benefit the Colombo Port and Sri Lanka since over 60% of Colombo Port’s
trans-shipment business is with India. India’s participation in the ECT will
also ensure continuity to the strong shipping ties between India and Sri Lanka
when deep ports come up on Indian coasts, which are not far away.
The trilateral ECT project will also attract foreign investment to Sri
Lanka, as per Sri Lanka’s priority of ‘investments not loans’. That will create
jobs for the people of Sri Lanka, address capacity saturation at the Colombo
Port and cement Sri Lanka’s attractiveness as a shipping hub.
So the investment by India and Japan in the ECT in Sri Lanka is a
win-win-win opportunity. Therefore, India would be happy to see an early
implementation of this project.
Q Do you see any geopolitical significance in that project for India?
I understand that one of the objectives of the Government of Sri Lanka is
to strengthen Sri Lanka’s position as a connectivity hub and develop it as an
energy hub. I believe the full benefit of Sri Lanka’s advantageous geographical
position in the proximity of busy global shipping lines can be derived in
conjunction with the huge market, expanding economy and technological
advancement of next-door neighbour India.
Q Have you received any green light from the Sri Lankan Government to
move ahead with the project?
The three countries
are in touch through diplomatic channels.