Sri Lanka is seeking trilateral cooperation with India and Japan in the renewable energy, oil, telecommunications and ports sectors to accelerate its economic recovery, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner for India said on Monday.
“President Ranil Wickremesinghe discussed trilateral cooperation with India and Japan during his visit to Tokyo,” High Commissioner Milinda Moragoda said in an interview. The Times of India.
he’s from Wickremesinghe Visit to Tokyo On September 28, he attended the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and discussed debt restructuring with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Sri Lanka is also in talks with Israel and the United Arab Emirates on trilateral cooperation with India. Moragoda believes ties with India will help Sri Lanka sustain a sustainable economic recovery.
“Sustainable recovery is important and we want to look at how we can integrate with the Indian economy. If we had integrated with the Indian economy earlier, we would have grown very quickly,” he said.
According to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka had $10 billion in bilateral debt as of August, of which 44% owed to China (pdf). Japan holds her 32% of Sri Lanka’s debt, and India holds another 10%.
Sri Lanka recognizes India’s security concerns as its own
The China-India conflict appears to complicate matters for Sri Lanka, which in 2017 leased Hambantota port to China for 99 years and converted Chinese loans into equity. India fears the port will be used as a military base.
In early August, Sri Lanka allowed a Chinese research vessel (referred to by Indian media as a “spy ship”) to dock at Hambantota port for resupply, despite Indian security objections.
Moragoda said Sri Lanka and India are discussing a mechanism to prevent foreign countries from using ports to the detriment of India’s interests, which is in line with bilateral agreements between the two countries.
“Our security concerns are fully aligned. The basic principle is that we believe that any security threat to India is also a security threat to us, and India I think we are thinking the same thing,” he added.
Moragoda denied that the conflict between India and China had influenced the debt restructuring negotiations with creditors necessary for Sri Lanka to win an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package.
“I do not think so [the India–China rivalry] It has affected negotiations, but it is true that politics in our region have entered a dangerous phase. ‘ he said.
Wickremesinghe said on Sunday that Sri Lanka had started debt restructuring talks with China, India and Japan. The country said in early September that he reached her IMF staff-level agreement on a $2.9 billion relief fund, which would require loan guarantees from major creditors.