Sirisena to discuss Indian investment with Modi

Economic partnership agreement that New Delhi wants may not figure in talks

February 13, 2015 03:28 am | Updated 03:28 am IST - COLOMBO:

In his upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is likely to discuss possible areas for Indian investment in Sri Lanka, a senior Minister said.

Briefing the media on Cabinet decisions on Thursday, Plantations Minister and Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said investment, education and highways are high on the agenda for discussions.

Asked if the Palk Bay conflict will be raised, he said: “It is an ongoing issue troubling both sides. The President will surely convey the concerns of our fishermen here.”

While investment will be a key theme, it is learnt that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which New Delhi has been pushing for, may not figure in this round of discussions.

“The visit is mainly to establish a good rapport with New Delhi,” said the Minister, who earlier said the Sri Lankan government will not partner China in anyway detrimental to India. Mr. Modi is likely to visit Sri Lanka in March, following which President Sirisena is scheduled to visit China.

Minister D.M. Swaminathan, who will be on the President’s delegation to New Delhi, said the government would invite private investment as India had “giants” like the Tatas and the Birlas who could further explore the Sri Lankan market.

Sri Lanka will also seek Indian assistance for the construction of 20,000 houses for workers in the plantation sector, who are Sri Lankan Tamils of recent Indian origin, in the island’s Central Province.

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