WION: Sri Lanka’s Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva spoke to WION on Hambantota and Colombo ports, investments by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani in the country, and more.
“We have excellent relations with India. India is helping and we are reciprocating. We have started flights from India to our airports. We have started ferry services to and from Madras [Chennai]. We have increased connectivity,” de Silva told WION on the sidelines of the sixth international Indian Ocean Conference in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
“We have to be mindful about the security of India. We have very friendly relationship,” the minister emphasised, while adding that New Delhi is helping Colombo build its energy sector.
“We have requested India to come to Trincomalee port and do the value addition,” he said, in an invitation for New Delhi to invest in the port, located about 262 km southwest of Sri Lankan capital Colombo.
The Sri Lankan ports minister also expressed confidence on the Indian conglomerate Adani group’s investment in Colombo port.
The minister added that while Colombo had to sell the Hambantota port to China, it has ensured that the port is not used for war or security purposes.
“We had to sell the Hambantota [port]. We asked India to take it over and the US to take it over. Then the Chinese came and took it over. It is a private sector [takeover]. It is not being used for other purposes. Our agreement with the Chinese is very clear that it cannot be used for any war or security purposes but only trade,” he added.