Sri Lanka’s Minister on Special Assignments Sarath Amanugama, who was part of the official delegation headed by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremeshinghe that took part in the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative in Beijing, said talks were underway with India for its participation in free trade zones in Trincomalee, Hambantota as well as the Colombo port, the Press Trust of India reported.
“Modi’s visit was a grand success. The chemistry between our President, Prime Minister and Modi was excellent… The interesting thing is that Modi made a clear statement that projects should be fast tracked,” the minister said.
India and Sri Lanka are in talks to jointly operate oil tanks at the strategic Trincomalee port. At least 73 of the 99 storage tanks in Trincomalee are to be managed under a new equity arrangement between India and Sri Lanka.
Calling both India and China “friends”, Amanugama said Sri Lanka does not see the world divided between the two countries.
“Taking sides is not rational in Sri Lanka’s interest. No way we subscribe to the view that India and China have different interests,” he said.
“India is our brother,China is our friend. Our link with India is historical and geographical. Both are our friends. We don’t see the world divided between India and China,” he added.
Modi wrapped up his Sri Lanka visit last week during which he took part in the International Vesak Day celebrations and addressed Indian-origin Tamils.
Modi addressed Tamils of Indian origin in Dickoya town in the tea growing Central Province of Sri Lanka and inaugurated a Rs 150 crore super-speciality hospital built with India’s assistance. (Colombo Gazette)