The Sunday Leader

Sri Lanka wants to elevate relationship with India to higher level

Sri Lanka says it wants to elevate the relationship with India to a much higher level.

Chitranganee Wagiswara, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi said that the relationship between Sri Lanka and India is rooted in deep civilizational links, which date back many millennia.

“It is my firm belief that the time is very opportune to explore and focus on ways and means of elevating to a much higher level our bilateral economic relations, especially with the State of Maharashtra. Sri Lanka is taking number of measures to strengthen investment climate; The Board of Investment is moving beyond facilitation to attach higher priority to attract investments,” she said at an Interactive Meeting on Trade and Investment Opportunities in Sri Lanka organized by the MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai and All India Association of Industries (AIAI) at WTC Mumbai.

This is the maiden visit of Mrs. Wagiswara to the financial capital of India after taking charge as High Commissioner.

Wagiswara urged Indian companies to take advantage of the Government of Sri Lanka’s Vision 2025 programme, which will present ample opportunities and position the country as an export-oriented economic hub at the centre of the Indian Ocean.

Under the Vision 2025 agenda, Government of Sri Lanka aims to raise its per capita income to USD 5,000 per year, create one million new jobs, enhance FDI to USD 5 billion and double exports to USD 20 billion per year. These targets lay the foundation for Sri Lanka to become an upper-middle income country by 2025.

Highlighting the economic benefits of investment in Sri Lanka, Mrs. Wagiswara said that Sri Lanka having signed FTAs with India, Singapore and Pakistan and another FTA under negotiation with China, offers preferential access to a vast market of 3 billion consumers. Colombo port has been ranked 13th best connectivity port in South Asia. Sri Lanka is committed to improve ease of doing business ranking from 110 in 2017 to 70 by 2020.

The High Commissioner emphasized the potential for co-operation in the hospitality and tourism sector and suggested that India and Sri Lanka could be promoted as dual destination for tourism. Government of Sri Lanka is attracting Indian tourists through the promotion of the Ramayana Trail.

Mrs. Wagiswara invited Indian investors to participate at the Sri Lanka Investment and Business Conclave to be organised by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce from 19th-21st June 2018 in Colombo.

Mrs. Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Mumbaisaid that their mission was to present Indian businesses new economic opportunities in Sri Lanka. After a 30-year conflict period, Sri Lanka has enjoyed unprecedented peace and economic stability in the past eight years. Sri Lanka’s preferential market access, proactive government, educated workforce and fast developing infrastructure projects provide immense opportunities for investment in the country.

Speaking about ambitious infrastructure projects in the country, Mrs. Rodrigo invited India’s participation in the Western Region Mega polis Plan and the Colombo Port City Project that will generate investment opportunities in infrastructure, transport, real estate, both commercial and residential, large scale affordable housing programmes, financial and IT-enabled services, logistics, ports and airports, manufacturing, industrial zones, training and skill development centres. The Colombo Port City Project is a special financial zone that will become an International Financial Centre.

Siddhartha Rastogi, Director – Asset Management, Ambit Capital Private Limitedsaid that India and Sri Lanka are complimentary to each other for their existence, survival and growth. It’s not a coincidence that various Indian governments have intervened in resolving Sri Lankan conflict in the past and bring political and social stability to both sides.  Mr. Rastogi further stated that Sri Lanka from times immemorial has been relevant as it forms an integral part of Silk route. Not too much has changed since then as dominance on Indian ocean can only be gained through Sri Lanka’s support. Whichever country controls Indian ocean can claim access to 6 other oceans as well and bring EAST-WEST Trade corridor closer.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Vijay Kalantri, President, All India Association of Industries and Vice Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai said that Sri Lanka is India’s friendly neighbor and we have religious and cultural ties dating back to the period of epic Ramayana. The country is a promising destination for employment and investment. India has signed a free trade agreement with Sri Lanka and already India is exporting pharmaceuticals, chemicals and other items to Sri Lanka. Being a small country, projects can be implemented within time limit in Sri Lanka.

The event was attended by representatives from industry, consular corps, academic and research institutions, EXIM Bank and other financial institutions, government departments and non government organizations.

Ms. Rupa Naik, Senior Director, MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbaiproposed the vote of thanks. (Colombo Gazette)

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