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Sri Lanka Halts Port Deal With India And Japan

Colombo: Sri Lanka scrapped a deal to develop a major port terminal with India and Japan amid weeks-long protests by trade unions and opposition parties.

Sri Lanka had previously agreed to develop the strategic East Container Terminal at the Colombo port with India and Japan. Under the deal, India and Japan were to own 49 per cent of the terminal’s shares while Sri Lanka’s Ports Authority would retain the majority stake.

But now, Sri Lanka’s government declared the East terminal “a wholly-owned container terminal of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority”.

The government said it would instead develop the port’s West Container Terminal with investment from India and Japan.

The Indian embassy in Colombo said India expects the timely implementation of the agreement the three countries signed in 2019.

There was no immediate comment from Japan.

Tension has been growing in Sri Lanka in recent weeks over the port deal among trade unions and opposition political parties who have demanded the government halt the plan to develop the terminal with India and Japan.