Direct flights to be revived from Coimbatore to Sri Lanka says Deputy Envoy
The Morning: Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Southern India D. Venkateshwaran, on 15 November, said talks are on to revive direct flight connection from Coimbatore to Sri Lanka, as part of a slew of incentives the island nation is providing to Indian businesses to encourage bilateral trade and investments.
Speaking at the Coimbatore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (ICCI) 14th council meeting, Venkateshwaran highlighted the reasons why Indian entrepreneurs should invest in Sri Lanka despite its growing foreign debt which currently stands at $ 86 Billion.
“Culture, logistical advantages, air connectivity, linguistic connection, geo-location, and cosmopolitan set-up are some of the incentives Sri Lanka provides India,” he said.
While the country’s political and financial instability continues to remain unfavorable for entrepreneurs to set up shop in Sri Lanka, Venkateshwaran highlighted the advancement the nation has achieved in skill development among the nation’s youth population and the development of tourism and real estate sectors.
“We are focusing on providing skilled personnel that can help businesses that come to Sri Lanka. At the same time, our economy is slowly picking up as tourism is helping us repay debt,” he told The Hindu.
Sri Lanka and India enjoy strong bilateral, business and trade ties that have been further strengthened by an operational free trade agreement (FTA) that is to be further enhanced by a comprehensive economic and technical agreement. While India is one of Sri Lanka’s key development partners, Indian tourists are among the top tourists to visit Sri and many Indian businesses have set up operations in the island as well. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the close proximity to India have resulted in Indian businesses showing interest in the Sri Lankan market and vice versa. Given the close economic ties between the two countries, connectivity between Sri Lanka and India also plays a key role in further enhancing the bilateral ties. While Sri Lanka and India operate a ferry service for goods and passenger transportation, Sri Lanka operates direct flights between several key cities in India and the island. It is in such a backdrop that India is looking at starting flights between India and Sri Lanka through an additional location. Given the strong ties between Sri Lanka and India, Indian businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka given the growth and profits recorded by Indian businesses that are already operating in Sri Lanka. Indian businesses could also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses with the aim of further expansion. Also, other foreign businesses/investors interested in doing business with India could look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with India.
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