Adani Group to buy Colombo Port terminal, states Gotabaya
East Container Terminal will not be sold or rented, Sri Lanka President ensures employee unions.
East Container Terminal will not be offered or rented, Sri Lanka President guarantees employee unions.
In his government’s very first admission yet of Indian involvement in establishing a container terminal at the tactically desired Colombo Port, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday stated 49% of the financial investment will come from the “Adani Group and other stakeholders”.
President Rajapaksa was resolving representatives of the Port’s employee unions, amid their continuing resistance to any foreign participation in the proposed project to establish the East Container Terminal (ECT). “The ECT will not be offered or rented,” he assured them, adding that the foreign financial investments would trigger no harm to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty or independence, according to a declaration released by the President’s office.
The development comes a week after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Colombo, throughout which he reportedly prompted the Sri Lankan side to accelerate settling the deal. While 66% of the transhipment service at the terminal is connected to India, New Delhi’s tactical interest in having a presence at the Port, located along among the world’s shipping lanes, is obvious.
In May 2019, the predecessor federal government– led by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe– signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with India and Japan for the project. The three nations concurred that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) would maintain 100% ownership, while a jointly-owned Terminal Operations Company– 51% stake with Sri Lanka, and 49% with India and Japan– would run the terminal. Nevertheless, the declaration from President Rajapaksa’s workplace stated he “mentioned” to the unions that after his federal government negotiated with India, it was possible to reach an arrangement for SLPA to “keep 51% of the ownership and the control”.
Asked how the brand-new offer would be various from the 2019 MoC– which envisaged neither sale nor a leasing arrangement– SLPA chairman (retired) General M. Daya Ratnayake told The Hindu: “We will not be turning to any loans. It will all be investment, that is the primary distinction.” Two Cabinet-appointed committees were charged with looking into the specifics of the task and working out the new contract, he said.
Colombo-based sources stated Japan too was considering the request for financial investments.
Nevertheless, Opposition legislator Vijitha Herath of the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)– which held a rally on Tuesday protesting Indian participation in the ECT– stated he was not encouraged. “Investment is a just a way of covering the Indian business’s actual role and control here. It does not eliminate sale or a lease in future,” he told The Hindu
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( the headline, this story has not been published by Crucial India News staff and is released from a syndicated feed.).