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ECT: India insists SL government to stick to its commitment

India is still insisting the Sri Lanka government to honour the MoU on the Colombo Port's Eastern Terminal deal they inked with the previous regime, official sources said.

Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that discussions on the matter are still ongoing.

He was responding to a question raised on the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port.

“India’s interest for participation in the Colombo port is a long standing one since most goods handled there are from and to India. We had, in principle, agreement from the Sri Lankan government in this regard. Current government has, however, expressed a preference in engaging investors directly. I understand discussions are still underway,” Anurag Srivastava said.

Sri Lanka had recently announced that it will not go ahead with the agreement to jointly manage the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port with India and Japan.

The Memorandum of Cooperation among the three governments of Sri Lanka, Japan and India on the development of the ECT located in the Colombo South Port was signed in Colombo on 28 May 2019.

As per the 2018 agreement, India and Japan were to have a 49% stake collectively in the Terminal Operations Company that was to be set up with the exclusive and explicit purpose of providing the equipment and systems necessary for the development of the ECT and managing the ECT for long periods.

Under the agreement, a stake of 51% of the TOC was to belong to the Sri Lankan government under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

Sri Lanka had later sought to maintain close relations with India despite the issue over the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port.

Cabinet co-spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said that Sri Lanka respects its close relationship with India.

He said that the government will look to negotiate and reach a settlement with India on the ECT issue.

Sri Lanka is to hold talks with New Delhi on the West Container Terminal of the Colombo Port.

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