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Sri Lanka scraps port development deal with India, Japan

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has trashed a deal to develop the strategic East Container Terminal at Colombo port here with India and Japan following protests by trade unions and opposition parties.

The development took place a day after India called on the neighbouring nation to honour the agreement.

It is viewed as an effort to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.

The East Container Terminal in Colombo Port is being built next to a controversial $500-million Chinese container jetty.

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As part of the deal, India and Japan were supposed to own 49 per cent of the terminal’s shares. Sri Lanka’s Ports Authority would retain the majority stake of 51 per cent.

The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday, however, declared the East terminal “a wholly owned container terminal of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority” at a cost of US$800 million and proposed it would instead develop the port’s West Container terminal with investment from India and Japan.

On the other hand, the Indian embassy here said India expected the timely implementation of the tripartite agreement signed in 2019.

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