Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that discussions on the matter are still ongoing.
He was responding to a question raised on the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port.
“India’s interest for participation in the Colombo port is a long standing one since most goods handled there are from and to India. We had, in principle, agreement from the Sri Lankan Government in this regard. Current Government has, however, expressed a preference in engaging investors directly. I understand discussions are still underway,” Anurag Srivastava said.
The Government had recently announced that Sri Lanka will not go ahead with the agreement to jointly manage the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port with India and Japan.
The Memorandum of Cooperation among the three Governments of Sri Lanka, Japan and India on the development of the East Container Terminal located in the Colombo South Port was signed in Colombo on 28 May 2019.
As per the 2018 agreement India and Japan were to have a 49% stake collectively in the Terminal Operations Company that was to be set up with the exclusive and explicit purpose of providing the equipment and systems necessary for the development of the ECT and managing the ECT for long periods.
Under the agreement the stake of 51% of the TOC was to belong to the Government of Sri Lanka under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
Sri Lanka had later sought to maintain close relations with India despite the issue over the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port.
Cabinet co-spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said that Sri Lanka respects its close relationship with India.
He said that the Government will look to negotiate and reach a settlement with India on the ECT issue.
Sri Lanka is to hold talks with New Delhi on the West Container Terminal of the Colombo Port. (Colombo Gazette)