Sri Lanka to propose West Container Terminal deal to India and Japan

The Sri Lankan government is expected to approach India and Japan officials soon, proposing an offer to jointly develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) at Colombo port, reported News 1st

Feb 16, 2021
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The Sri Lankan government is expected to approach India and Japan officials soon, proposing an offer to jointly develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) at Colombo port, reported News 1st.

The development came weeks after the Sri Lankan government unilaterally decided to scrap the 2019  memorandum of cooperation, signed by India, Japan, and Sri Lanka, to jointly develop the East Container Terminal (ECT).

A cabinet negotiations committee appointed for the development of the West Container Terminal on Monday has decided to approach Indian and Japanese high commissioners, asking to name their respective investors for the proposed deal.

Significantly, the latest offer - to develop the WCT - by Sri Lanka is being seen as an attempt to placate their miffed, yet important, development partners. The decision to scrap the 2019 ECT deal caught both India and Japan by surprise as the two have long been trying to limit the Chinese influence in the country.

However, it is yet to be seen if both nations accept the latest offer of the WCT at Colombo port. Earlier in 2018, the previous Sri Lankan government led by Mathripala Sirisena had also first offered the WCT to India. India, at the time, had dcclined the offer and insisted on the ECT.

Furthermore, the ECT, besides being more strategically located than the WCT, is already developed and hence would have required little time and investment to upgrade. On the other hand, in the case of the WCT, one would need to start from scratch, the reason India refused the offer in the first place in 2018.

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