India-Sri Lanka ties: Trincomalee development, ETCA on hold


30 Apr 2017

No agreements will be signed during Modi's Lanka visit: Sirisena

Amidst speculation relating to signing of major Indo-Sri Lanka deals during PM Modi's visit to Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena clarified that no agreements would be signed.

He added that Modi was only visiting to take part in the UN Vesak day, the most important festival in the Buddhist calendar.

He further urged for people to not be misled by false stories.


What did Sirisena say?

Addressing a gathering at Ottamavadi in eastern Batticaloa district, Sirisena noted, "I am aware that disinformation is being spread on social media on the Indian premier's visit".

Adding that no agreements would be signed during the visit, he noted, "I appeal to people not to be misled by false stories that India would acquire areas in our country through agreements".

What was being proposed earlier?

The MoU is purported to include setting up of Petroleum refinery in Trincomalee and collaboration involving Indian Oil Corporation and its Lankan subsidiary to develop 84 oil storage tank farms. The joint collaboration had also listed construction of roads connecting Trincomalee to Mannar and Dambulla.

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What has happened so far?

Ahead of Modi's visit to Sri Lanka, official sources and Sri Lankan media had hinted towards finalization of Memorandum of Understanding for developing Trincomalee as well as an Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement.

Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to India last week was speculated to finalize these deals.

Sirisena's clarification has been made against the background of Trincomalee port workers protesting the collaboration.

Why are the workers protesting?

The workers from Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) oppose Indian involvement in developing oil tanks, contending that it would benefit Lanka IOC, an IOC subsidiary, further pushing CPC into debt. The workers turned to protests after President Sirisena refused to discuss the issue with them.


What does this mean?

What does this mean?

Speculations on joint collaboration on Trincomalee have remained in the realm of speculation. PM Wickremesinghe in 2016 had indicated that Singaporean Company Surbana Jurong will develop port infrastructure.

Moreover, while India is keen on developing the oil farms, Indian sources had earlier clarified that India sees no economic merit in getting involved with developing Trincomalee.

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