Colombo, May 25 (BAN/ AD): Government is in talks with India and Japan to build a container terminal at the port in Colombo. This is a signal that Sri Lanka wants to neutralise the growing influence of China, which has invested heavily in Sri Lanka.
Government official said “The deal is being negotiated among Sri Lanka, India and Japan,” Sri Lankan government will have a 51 percent stake in the terminal, he said. Chinese firms have a mandate to operate Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) and develop another terminal on a 269-hectare plot of reclaimed land there.
Earlier there was a attempt with the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) owning a 15% stake and the remainder held by a consortium of firms from Japan, India and Sri Lanka was scuttled last year after a backlash from trade unions. Trade unions protested against the privatisation of state assets including those being developed by Chinese firms, a dispute that led to President Maithripala Sirisena sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in October. Wickremesinghe was reinstated later after a court ruling.