India-Sri Lanka Relation: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is going through a shaky economic situation, spoke on Friday about the trade deal with India. Ranil said that his country is serious about developing a comprehensive economic and technological partnership by upgrading the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He also said that the work which started in 2018 and 2019 has not made any significant progress.
The Free Trade Agreement between India and Sri Lanka was the first bilateral trade agreement. The agreement was signed in 1998 and came into force in 2000. Its purpose was to strengthen economic ties between the two countries by liberalizing trade rules.
Wickremesinghe said – FTA has to be brought back on track
Addressing the Sri Lanka-India Society on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, Wickremesinghe said, “Sri Lanka and India have to gradually remove investment and non-tariff barriers, especially with regard to economic relations.” India’s relationship with neighboring countries will be determined by trade integration.
The President said, “Trade integration provides an economic base. A shared economic base is a precondition for better national security and better political relations. He said that the first such step is to bring FTAs back on track and upgrade them to form a Comprehensive Economic Technology Partnership. The work on FTA that started in 2018 and 2019 did not make much progress.
Sri Lanka-India will be together in the field of energy
Wickremesinghe said that the second step is to look into the projects that both the countries have agreed upon. But it has been delayed from the Sri Lankan side.
“Two such major projects include a power grid connection between India and Sri Lanka, offshore wind power, a solar power plant in Sampur in the eastern province and renewable energy projects on three islands of Jaffna in the north,” he said.
Wickremesinghe said – we will give renewable energy to India
The President said – We have tremendous scope for potential renewable energy and India has taken steps for this before other countries. But from Puttalam to Mullaitivu, if we harness renewable energy and go for green hydrogen and provide electricity to India too, it will lead to the uplift of the northern economy, which was not the case earlier. He said that we will promote Indian higher education institutions, especially for this Jaffna is an area which we have identified.