Sri Lanka and India discuss resuming of Indian funded projects in the island
President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have discussed the resumption of Indian funded projects in the island that are currently on hold following the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The matter was taken up for discussion during a telephone conversation between Rajapaksa and Modi last Saturday (23).
President Rajapaksa had sought the intervention of Prime Minister Modi to revive some of the key projects as Sri Lanka strives to restore the economy. He asked PM Modi to “direct those responsible from India’s side to expedite construction of the East Terminal of the Colombo Port as early as possible as it will be a significant boost to our economic landscape.”
“I am trying to promote value added industrial and agricultural activities,” the President has explained, adding, “and will be happy if you could encourage Indian investors to start such investments, including Indian companies already in Sri Lanka to increase domestic value addition in the context of COVID-19 economic priorities.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has also appealed to India to extend US$ 1.1 billion in urgent financing support to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If the Government of India could provide US$ 1.1 billion special SWAP facility to top up US$ 400 million under SAARC Facility, it would enormously help Sri Lanka in dealing with our foreign exchange issues,” the President has told Indian Prime Minister Modi.
In turn, the Indian Premier assured that he was personally committed to help Sri Lanka.
“We are ready to help under terms that are favourable to Sri Lanka,” Modi has said.
The discussion and the positive outcome on the resumption of Indian funded projects in Sri Lanka is a positive sign on the interest of foreign businesses/investors to resume development projects in the island. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean, the ease of doing business environment in the country and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country has increased the island’s potential of becoming a business hub in the South Asian region. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and take part in the country’s development programme since it would bring definite returns to the investor.
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