India calls for implementation of Eastern Container Terminal Pact by Sri Lanka

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, India Published: Feb 01, 2021, 09.56 PM(IST)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Photograph:( AFP )

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India has called for early implementation of the 2019 trilateral pact for the development of Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo port even as Sri Lanka is seen as dragging its feet in the backdrop of local protests

India has called for early implementation of the 2019 trilateral pact for the development of Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo port even as Sri Lanka is seen as dragging its feet in the backdrop of local protests. Local media reported that on Monday evening, the Sri Lankan cabinet unanimously approved to operate the East Terminal of the Colombo port 100% by the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA).

A spokesperson of the High Commission in Colombo in response to WION question "reiterate the expectation of 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."

Pointing out to the "commitment of Government of Sri Lanka in this regard has been conveyed several times in the recent past, including at the leadership level... All sides should continue to abide by the existing understandings and commitment."

India, Japan and Sri Lanka signed the Memorandum of Intent for a trilateral arrangement for the project under the former Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe govt. Under the arrangement, a Sri Lankan govt PSU - Sri Lankan Port Authority will hold majority share with the remaining share being held between Japanese and Indian entities.

The Indian reaction comes even as Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assured the local worker's trade union that the terminal will not be sold or leased to any foreign entity. In a tweet, he said, that the Lankan Ports Authority will maintain control of the ECT and the Sri Lankan govt "adheres strictly to its policy of retaining assets belonging to the govt". In fact, Sri Lanka cabinet three months ago took the decision to implement the project with foreign investors.

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