Sri Lanka assumed that the Indian government was agreeable to the negotiations with the Adani group to develop the West Container Terminal (WCT), Co Cabinet spokesman Udaya Gammanpila said on March 9.
His remark came just days after Indian government denied its involvement in nominating the Adani group for the development of WCT although it had previously nominated the same company for the controversial East container Terminal at the Colombo port.
Gammanpila said, however Sri Lanka has now started negotiations with the Adani group to develop the WCT.
He said that since India has previously nominated the Adani group for the development of the ECT the government assumed that the same investment will continue and made a statement accordingly last week.
The Sri Lankan government last week said: “Cabinet approval has been granted on 01-02-21 to develop the West Container Terminal of Colombo South Port as a private–public limited company in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and parties nominated by Indian and Japanese government.”
Co-Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella confirmed the government position.
But, within days Indian External Affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said
“Our high commission in Colombo has already conveyed to the government of Sri Lanka that their media release in so far 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,
Mr Gammanpila explained that since only the location of the project was changed, the Sri Lankan government assumed that the Indian government was agreeable.
In the recent weeks this is the second time statements made by ministers regarding Indian projects have been contradicted.
Last month Minister Gammanpila as Minister of Energy said that the government will take back the oil tanks leased to the Indian Oil Company to Sri Lanka and said that talks were held with the Indian High Commission in this regard.
But, after India denied the claim the Minister backed out saying the media had made a mistake in translating his original statement.