Sri Lanka to boost trade and passenger traffic with India amid state visits
COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka and India will seek to boost air and sea travel between the two countries and also boost trade and investment with state visits planned by leaders of both countries, a minister said.
Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi had invited Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena to visit India and he is also hoping to visit Sri Lanka, foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera had told the cabinet of minister following his first visit abroad to India.
Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Seneviratne said an Indian Prime Minister had not visited Sri Lanka since 1987.
India and Sri Lanka will discuss the expansion of trade and investment, increasing direct flights between and re-starting ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram and Colombo and Tuticorin.
Expanding trade links had halted under the Rajapaksa regime which was driven by textbook ‘German historical economics’ style economic nationalism, which ultimately leads to bad relations between neighbours. It is not clear whether such businesses had financed political campaign of the current members of the administration and they would contnue to block the free trade rights of poor Sri Lankans.
A planned comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two countries was suspended at the behest of powerful business groups that wanted exploit Sri Lankan consmers with the help of protectionist taxes.
Bringing back refugees from India and problems of illegal fishing would also be discussed by the two leaders, Senevirante, who is fisheries minister said.
India would also assist in making the Colombo – Kandy rail line a dual track.