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India Aims for Early Conclusion of Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to Boost Sri Lanka’s Export Potential

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Mr. Santosh Jha, expressed optimism for the swift conclusion of the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) during an event held in Colombo. ETCA is designed to supplement the existing free trade agreement between India and Sri Lanka, with the aim of enhancing the island nation’s export capabilities.

Addressing a reception at India House in Colombo on the occasion of India’s 75th Republic Day, Mr. Jha emphasized the potential economic benefits of the ETCA. He stated, “We hope to enhance our economic partnership and enhance Sri Lanka’s export potential through early conclusion of the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement, just as the FTA opened new export opportunities for Sri Lanka to India, which now stands at more than 1 billion dollars.”

Highlighting the foundation of the India-Sri Lanka partnership, Mr. Jha noted the relationship’s roots in civilizational ties, geographical proximity, cultural connections, solidarity, and longstanding goodwill. He underscored India’s Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) policy as a guiding principle in its approach to Sri Lanka.

Discussing recent initiatives to strengthen economic ties, Mr. Jha mentioned the launch of daily flights between Jaffna and Chennai, as well as a ferry service, since July 2023. He also outlined ongoing energy projects, including power grid connectivity, a multi-product petroleum pipeline for Trincomalee’s economic development, and a virtual LNG pipeline from Kochi to Colombo to reduce electricity costs in Sri Lanka.

As Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, Mr. Jha highlighted that bilateral trade reached USD 6 billion in 2022. He noted India’s status as the largest foreign investor and source of foreign tourists in Sri Lanka. Mr. Jha shared India’s commitment to various development projects, contributing over 5 billion US dollars to initiatives touching every district of Sri Lanka, such as solar electrification, modernization of railways, housing for the underprivileged, health and education infrastructure, and ports and airports development.

In conclusion, Mr. Jha asserted the natural partnership between India and Sri Lanka, describing them as “irreplaceable, indispensable, and inseparable as partners.” He expressed dedication to further deepening and strengthening the partnership for the mutual benefit of both nations.

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