Sri Lanka seeks to integrate economy with India, focuses on eight sectors - Opportunity Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka seeks to integrate economy with India, focuses on eight sectors

Sri Lanka seeks to integrate economy with India, focuses on eight sectors

Daily FT: Sri Lanka has initiated a country strategy for India with an eye on integrating its ‘fragile’ economy with the Indian economy with a focus on eight sectors to boost fortunes.
The Gotabaya Rajapaksa-led Government has identified energy, refineries, electricity grid, ports, real estate, tourism and information and communications technology for attracting investments from India, the island nation’s envoy to India Milinda Moragoda told Economic Times in an interview.
“India is the biggest economy in the region and Lanka wants to benefit from the Indian growth story,” he said. “Lanka can be a springboard for the Indian investors in the region. Our idea is to integrate our economy into the Indian economy for a win-win situation.”
Trincomalee oil firm project is one of the concrete initiatives that could lead to it. It also calls for increasing exports from Sri Lanka and expanding Sri Lanka’s market share in India. Lankan textile sector is also keen on developing its partnership with Indian players. Lanka also has a requirement for oil refineries and look forward to Indian refiners participation in that sector. The cross-border electricity grid is another area where Lanka is seeking to integrate into the Indian grid, given its limited requirements compared to India. “Few of India’s other neighbours have benefitted from this model,” the envoy said.
The tourism sector is the lowest hanging fruit and Indian tourists are the biggest in number, contributing to the Sri Lankan economy’s recovery after the pandemic, he said. ITC is setting up its biggest luxury hotel abroad in Colombo. “But it is not just the high-end tourism, Sri Lanka has provision for every type of tourist. We are inviting Indian investments in the tourism sector like real estate and port sectors,” said Moragoda, who, in the past, has served as Lanka’s Tourism Minister.
The information technology sector is yet another sector that provides opportunity for a win-win situation, he noted. The goal is to facilitate digital connectivity between Sri Lanka and India. It would also help increase sea and air connectivity between the neighbours. The strategy document made available to ET calls for increasing Indian investments and facilitating ongoing large-scale economic development and investment-driven projects in Sri Lanka. It also calls for increasing exports from Sri Lanka and expanding Sri Lanka’s market share in India. Sri Lanka textile sector is also keen on developing its partnership with Indian players.
Colombo also plans to expand collaboration in the fields of strategic cooperation, defence and Indian Ocean security between Sri Lanka and India, according to the country strategy document. This would include expanding bilateral joint military exercises, study tours, and increased high-level military exchanges. The goal is also to secure relevant training berths offered by India’s defence ministry and establish and maintain contacts with India’s paramilitary and police forces, with a view to securing additional training opportunities for Sri Lankan forces.

OSL take:

Sri Lanka and India enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties that have been further strengthened by a functioning free trade agreement (FTA) as well. India is also one of Sri Lanka’s key development partners. The close proximity between Sri Lanka and India have always encouraged Indian businesses/investors to explore opportunities in Sri Lanka. Foreign businesses/investors interested in doing business with India could look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with India. Sri Lanka’s aggressive development programme and the positioning of the country as an emerging business destination in the South Asian region have increased the country’s business potential.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/08022022/Z_1

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