The Sri Lankan Government’s claim that a proposal on the Colombo Port West Container Terminal (WCT) has been approved by the Indian High Commission is ‘factually incorrect’, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday, the IANS news service reported.
Colombo on Tuesday approved a joint venture with the Adani group to build and operate Colombo Port’s WCT for 35 years. The Sri Lankan Government press release stated that the cabinet-appointed negotiation committee had requested the Indian high commission and Japanese embassy to nominate investors for the WCT project.
“The proposal presented by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ Consortium) has been approved by the Indian High Commission,” Sri Lanka’s Government Information Department said in an official communique.
During a weekly briefing today, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Sri Lankan Government has engaged directly with investors on this project.
“Our High Commission in Colombo has conveyed to Sri Lanka Government that their media release in so far as the reference to approval of High Commission was concerned, is factually incorrect,” Srivastava said.
“We understand that the Government of Sri Lanka has engaged directly with investors on this project,” he added.
The new joint venture was approved by the Sri Lankan Government weeks after it unilaterally cancelled Indian and Japanese participation in the development of the East Container Terminal at Colombo.
India and Sri Lanka signed a memorandum of understanding for “co-operation on economic projects” in 2019. The development and operation of the container terminal was one of the projects in the MoU and it was a joint venture.
Succumbing to strong opposition from trade unions across the country, Sri Lanka has unilaterally pulled out of the 2019 agreement with India and Japan for developing the strategic East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port.