PTI (COLOMBO): India expressed its keenness to invest in development of war-torn Sri Lanka in a big way, for which it promised to rope in private players in sectors like ports and exploration of oil and gas.
Commerce Minister Anand Sharma also reaffirmed India’s commitment to building infrastructure and institutions in Sri Lanka during his talks with the country’s leadership.
Sharma also said both countries reviewed the bilateral ties with reference to rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced Tamil civilians.
“The Sri Lanka Government is appreciative of India’s solidarity and efforts and ongoing efforts to rebuild areas which were destroyed in conflict and in rehabilitation of people,” Sharma told reporters.
India has been involved in a number of developmental projects in Sri Lanka as part of its efforts to rebuild the country after the end of the civil war in 2009.
The country is also building nearly 50,000 houses for displaced civilians in Tamil-dominated Northern Province.
Sharma said Indian companies would be more than willing to upgrade ports in Sri Lanka. “They are also willing to be a major partner in oil and gas exploration. An offer has been given by OVL. IOC is keen to develop an oil refinery here,” he said.
The Minister also said the Government would ask all banks in India to help the private sector companies willing to invest in Sri Lanka.
India has also rebuilt several schools damaged during the decades-old civil war. It is also involved in empowering the Tamil civilians and helping them in a number of ways.
Sharma had said that India would provide assistance to Sri Lanka for setting up a manufacturing zone for producing engineering and auto component goods to help the neighboring country improve exports.
The two countries, the Minister said, have also decided to set up a skill training institute at Trincomalee.
Sharma was in Sri Lanka to attend the ‘India Show,’ leading a group of over 200 Indian CEOs to Colombo for the third ‘India Show’ organised by CII in Sri Lanka.
Over 108 Indian companies are showcasing a wide range of products and services, including automobile, engineering, infrastructure, tourism, food processing, ICT, financial services, pharmaceuticals and education at Colombo’s Bandaranaika Memorial International Conference Hall.