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Thursday May 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka in talks with India to set up arms manufacturing unit: State Defence Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussion with Indian arm producers to establish an arms manufacturing unit in the island nation, State Defence Minister Premitha Bandara Tennakoon said.

The State Minister’s comments come a month after Indian arm manufacturers demonstrated Delhi’s capability in arm manufacturing to Sri Lankan military at a seminar while the island nation has been expecting for future joint collaboration in weapon production and military services.

“We are in discussion with India to set up a small arms manufacturing unit,” Tennakoon told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Wednesday (15).

“What you have to understand is the Indian defence manufacturing arm has boomed during the last two decades. It is a model that we have to look into. We can take a lot from Indian model and nothing wrong in learning from them. I think we also should get into the manufacturing,” he said.

Sri Lankan military defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with annihilating all the top rebel leaders in after a 26-year civil war.

India, which strongly backed LTTE by providing arms and training in the early stage of the war, took a complete U-turn and helped Sri Lanka military in the final stage of the war.

Defence analysts say Sri Lanka’s military tactics in winning the war has been marred by local and international allegations over human rights violations in the final phase of the war that ended in May 2009.

ALREADY MANUFACTURING

State Minister Tennakoon said Sri Lankan military is already into arms manufacturing.

“We are already doing it, but the scale is not what we expect it to be,” he said.

“So, we are in touch with our Indian counterparts and so much we can take from Indians little help we also can do wonders. So those discussions are ongoing at the moment.”

Tennakoon also said the military connectivity between India and Sri Lanka is at a high.

India’s privately owned defence companies on April 10 demonstrated the capability they have developed in manufacturing arms and other products including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), latest drones, and latest earth movers used in war zones.

The delegation comprised representatives from Indian Defence companies including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Zen Technologies, SSS Defence, Bharat Forge, Big Bang Boom Solutions, AWEL, AVNL, Mahindra Defence, Sager Defence and TATA Advances System Ltd.

Tennakoon said the event was an annual one amid discussions to set up a local manufacturing unit.

India’s defence exports have expanded by 10 folds to nearly $2.6 billion over the past five years, Indian High Commission in Colombo has said.

Since the end of the Sri Lankan war, India has been increasingly involved with the island nation’s armed forces, providing trainings and conducting joint military exercises with a special focus on maritime security after China increased its footprint in Sri Lanka.

The Indian government has committed supply of Floating Dock, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Dornier aircraft to ensure capacity building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces.

Sri Lanka has been looking for collaboration to earn foreign exchange in all sectors including military since an unprecedented economic crisis in 2022 which forced the country to default sovereign debts.

Since then, the island nation has yet to pay its private and bilateral external creditors. (Colombo/May 15/2024)

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Japan to provide HR scholarships to Sri Lanka public officials

ECONOMYNEXT – The Government of Japan will provide scholarships to study Master’s Degrees and Doctorate Degrees in HR to executive level officials in Sri Lanka’s public sector, cabinet spokesman minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

“Japan has agreed to grant scholarships worth 304 million Japanese yen (approximately 578 million rupees),” Gunawardena told reporters on Thursday.

“Accordingly. the Cabinet approved the proposal to sign letters of exchange with the Government of Japan and to enter into an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in order to receive the grant.

The Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resources Development Scholarship (JDS) Programme was introduced in 2010 to enable Sri Lankan officials to study in prominent universities in Japan.

Under the scheme, 225 scholarships have been provided previously for public officials to pursue postgraduate courses, and 17 scholarships for doctoral courses, the minister said.

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Sri Lanka to receive Japanese aid for human resource development scholarship

“The Government of Sri Lanka expects that the public officers who will be benefited under this programme will contribute to the social and economic development of the country in a productive manner with self–confidence and also contribute to strengthening the existing bilateral relationship between two countries,” the JDS website says. (Colombo/May23/2024)

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Sri Lanka plans to expand Bingiriya export zone to 1,100 acres

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expanding an export processing zone in Bingiriya in Kurunegala and plans to link the area with Puttalam with roads and other infrastructure, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

A task force of ministerial secretaries will be appointed to carry out the tasks speedily, following a cabinet paper submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

The Bingiriya zone already has 157 acres and another 282 acres is being developed by the Board of Investment, he said.

Steps would also be taken to acquire 666 acres.

There was no information whose lands would be acquired. (Colombo/May23/2024)

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Sri Lanka has power breakdowns amidst extreme weather

ECONOMYNEXT – The state-owned power utility, the Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last three days due to inclement weather in the island, the power minister said.

“Additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers,” Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera said on social media platform X (twitter).

Wijesekera said consumers could report power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, via SMS to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, or use the CEB Care app, or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk.

The South-East monsoon has seen floods, landslides and strong winds do damage to the utility provider’s infrastructure in the last week. (Colombo/May23?2024)

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