Talks are still ongoing with India on the Trincomalee oil storage facility, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Chitranganee Wagiswara said.
She told The Statesman there are certain issues which need to be sorted out through discussions.
“We know India is interested in Trincomalee region. A business plan is being drawn up by a Singapore-based company also. It is difficult to say by when an agreement would be signed,” she said.
She also said that Sri Lanka would like to work with India, China, Japan, Singapore, USA, ASEAN and EU.
“We look forward to signing FTAs with more countries. Of course, we have one with India. We are discussing an FTA with China. So, one cannot say that our ties are improving with one nation at the cost of another,” she said.
On the fishermen issue, the High Commissioner said that the fisherman issue has been there for a long time.
“The problem is that Indian fishermen mainly from southern states often cross the Indian Maritime Border Line and enter our side to fish. Poaching and crawling are two major issues. Last November, we had ministerial level discussions. Fishermen associations from both sides also met. A joint working group was established. They again met for the second time in Lanka in April. So, more surveillance, establishment of hot lines and other measures have been taken. We are pleased that the Indian government is looking into this issue seriously and encouraging deep sea fishing by allotting extra funds as well. We are hopeful that with such measures, this issue will be resolved soon,” she added. (Colombo Gazette)