Sri Lanka lures central Indian investors

Nov 15, 2009 (LBO) – Firms from the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have showed interest in investing in Sri Lanka and called for direct flights between the state capital Bhopal and Colombo, officials said. Sri Lanka can benefit by having daily flights between Bhopal, Colombo and Bangkok to cater to Sri Lankan as well as Thai and Japanese Buddhist pilgrims visiting Sanchi and other Buddhist sites in India.

Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of a twice-weekly flight at least during the pilgrimage season connecting Colombo, Bhopal and Lumbini, a Buddhist site in Nepal, near the Indian border, officials said. Investors were keen on developing medical services and education and investing in telecommunications, renewable energy and re-building infrastructure in the island’s north and east after the ethnic war, they said.

Madhya Pradesh is a state almost five times larger in area than Sri Lanka with three times the population of the island.

Indian businesses from the state already have connections with the island, exporting mill cloth amounting to 800,000 dollars a year to Sri Lanka.

Apparel is Sri Lanka’s main industrial export.

The state also draws tourists from Sri Lanka, especial