By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
The new Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Capt. Nihal Keppetipola paid a courtesy call on Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay recently, to “boost a greater synergy between India and Sri Lanka, pivotal to handle future container volume growth in the Indian subcontinent.”
The SLPA Chairman said considering the forecasted growth of population, production, and the order book increase of the Ultra Large Container Ships (ULCS) in the world, it is important for the Indian Government to take action as per Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s huge ‘Sagaramala’ Project parallel to Sri Lanka’s port development projects.
“We would then create a synergy between the countries to handle this huge container volume growth in the Indian subcontinent,” the Chairman said. During the meeting, High Commissioner Baglay said the development of bilateral trade between India and Sri Lanka would enhance socioeconomic stability between the two friendly Nations and India would always like to cordially work with Sri Lanka and the SLPA to improve the container and shipping connectivity.
The meeting took place on the invitation of the Indian High Commissioner, where the Head of Economic and Commercial Wing, Dr. Rakesh Panday was also present. Further discussions also took place at the meeting between the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and SLPA Chairman on the importance of commencement of a regional cruise liner operation in the Indian subcontinent.
The SLPA Chairman said the possibility should be discussed with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Ports and Shipping, the SLPA, and the Ministry of Tourism to make its operations a success.
The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka also proposed to commence a joint discussion with Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand) in this connection.