Sri Lanka's claim of Indian mission approval for WCT project proposal “factually incorrect”: MEA
“We understand that the government of Sri Lanka has engaged directly with investors on this project” Anurag Srivastava
The Ministry of External Affairs has described the Sri Lankan government's claim that a proposal on Colombo Port's Western Container Terminal has been approved by the Indian High Commission as "factually incorrect" noting that it understands that the Lankan dispensation has engaged directly with the investors on the project.
Sri Lanka announced on Tuesday that it has approved the proposal to develop the strategic Colombo Port's Western Container Terminal (WCT) under a joint venture with India and Japan for a period of 35 years, weeks after it scrapped a trilateral deal with both the countries to develop another terminal at the same port.
The Cabinet memorandum said that the proposal presented by Adani Ports and special economic zone limited (APSEZ Consortium) has been approved by the Indian High Commission.
Asked about it at an online media briefing here, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "Our High Commission in Colombo has already conveyed to the government of Sri Lanka that their media release insofar as the reference to the approval of the High Commission was concerned, is factually incorrect."
"We understand that the government of Sri Lanka has engaged directly with investors on this project," he said.
India, Japan and Sri Lanka had inked an agreement in 2019 on development of the terminal project. Both countries had expressed dissatisfaction after the Sri Lankan government’s decision to scrap the deal.
Last month, Sri Lanka had scrapped the trilateral deal with India and Japan to develop the Colombo Port's Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) as the Indian firm involved in the project refused to agree to its new terms.
"We entered talks from a favourable position to us, then that company refused to go ahead with our conditions," Sri Lankan Ports Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena had said.