Sri Lanka is looking forward to strengthening economic cooperation with India, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said, noting that development of the strategic eastern port town of Trincomalee will be discussed during his visit to the country next week. Wickremesinghe will arrive in New Delhi on April 25 on a five-day visit during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to further expand ties in a range of areas.
Addressing reporters in the central town of Kandy yesterday, Wickremesinghe said he was looking forward to strengthen economic cooperation with India. He said the development of eastern port district of Trincomalee will be discussed during the visit. “We have plans for an Indian LNG plant in Trincomalee. That could also be a joint venture with Japan,” the Prime Minister said.
India and Sri Lanka will jointly operate the oil storage facility at the strategic eastern port town of Trincomalee.
At least 73 of the 99 storage tanks in Trincomalee is to be managed under a new equity arrangement between the two countries, Lankan Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody had said earlier. Wickremesinghe’s trip comes ahead of Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka next month to take part in the celebrations marking the UN ‘Vesak Day’, the most important in the Buddhist calendar.
The Lankan Prime Minister’s visit will also be significant in view of the negotiations on the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. The ETCA has met with stiff resistance by trade unions and opposition groups. The Sri Lankan Prime Minsiter has expressed his resolve to seal the ETCA before the end of this year.