Sunday, 21 February 2021 14:18

Indo - Lanka relations strain to some extent says foreign relations expert Featured

Indo - Lanka relations have been strained to irreparable level at present due to double tongue stance and the lack of clear state policy on pledges made by the government relating to recent mega project development deals, political analysts said.

This government has no firm stance on foreign policy when balancing friendly relations with China and India and there is no geo- political issue at present relating to its giant neighbour, eminent foreign affairs expert Dayan Jayathilake said.

He noted that the changing policy stance from time to time and denying or breaking pledges given to both countries specially to India have been given wrong signals to friendly countries.
The government’s current divergent decisions on pledges given in relation to East Container Terminal deal at the Colombo Port, Trincomalee oil Tank Farm and Chinese deal of power projects in the islands off Jaffna have created confusion and mistrust among Indian authorities beyond damage control of Sri Lankan side, he pointed out.

This our own fault but not geopolitics in the region. Dayan Jayathilake emphasised adding that certain statements made by government top brass added fuel to the fire.

India is still insisting the Sri Lanka government to honour the MOU on Colombo Port Eastern Terminal deal they inked with the previous regime; Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said adding that discussions on the matter are still ongoing.

After yielding to Sinhalese nationalist pressure not to give the ECT project to India, the Sri Lankan government offered the WCT in which the designated Indian party is to hold 85% stake.

Be that as it may, arousing Indian anger, government had decided to award three renewable energy projects in three islands off Jaffna, Delft, Analativu, and Nainativu to a Chinese joint venture company MS/Sinosar-Etechwin.

The ADB was to give a loan of US$ 12 million for the project. India strongly objected to the grant of the project to a Chinese company as one of the island locations was only 48 kms from Rameswaram.

The media quoted Power Minister Dallas Allahaperuma as saying that the Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay had met him and offered an Indian “grant” of US$ 12 million for the three energy projects in Jaffna islands.

In a latest controversy, the Indian High Commission in Colombo on Thursday night issued a press statement stressing that the deal between the two countries on the 99 World War II-era Trincomalee oil tanks has not been scrapped.

This matter has cropped up following statement reported to have been made by Udaya Gammanpila, Minister of Energy claiming that they will –reacquire the tank farm leased out to Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC).

Later he denied the statement claiming that he has never stated that they will take back the oil tanks and it was a translation error of his sinhala speech into English putting the whole blame on the translator.

 

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