India’s Adani group to run ECT at Colombo Port : US commends decision
The United States of America has commended the Government’s decision to involve an Indian company to develop the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port.
According to the Daily Mirror, U.S. Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz said the involvement of an Indian company in this regard was essential for Sri Lanka’s maritime future.
The move is appropriate as India is the beneficiary of Sri Lanka’s port facilities or rather transshipment activities, she said.
Highlighting the importance of the private sector involvement in the development process, Teplitz further said Sri Lanka could look for the best in its economic arrangement.
Earlier this month, the Government decided to award the East Container Terminal (ECT) to Adani Group of India aiming it as a pure investment for the country.
The announcement was made following talks between Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, the Sri Lankan Government and business community, during the Indian official’s visit to the country in January.
The stalled terminal expansion project of the ECT was awarded to one of India’s largest integrated ports and logistics company after much debates.
Protests were also staged by 23 Colombo Port Unions and several academics who were of the view that national assets of Sri Lanka should not be awarded to foreigners.
The Memorandum of Corporation (MoC) to run the ECT between Sri Lanka, India and Japan was signed in September 2019.
Underthe new Rajapaksa Government which came into power in November 2019, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a committee comprising of five to review all the projects that were to be awarded to foreign countries.
After several discussions with the Indian Foreign Minister and his Sri Lankan counterpart pertaining to India’s interests, it was deemed that that ECT offered to Adani Group will mutually benefit both the countries.
The mega deal is that it’s a tripartite agreement where Adani has also announced that their Sri Lanka agent would be John Keells Holdings PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest listed company in the Stock Exchange that manages hotels and invested in the private port terminal South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT).
Under the agreement Sri Lanka will award 49% stakes to Adani, while the Sri Lankan Government will retain the remaining 51% stakes.