Sri Lanka President hosts visiting Indian PM to dinner

May 12, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena hosted a dinner for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday who is officially on a visit to attend the inauguration ceremony of the International Vesak Festival.

No bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during the two days he will be in the island, which is being described as a ‘religious visit’, the Indian Express reported.

Representatives from 85 countries will attend the celebrations, including the Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

Nevertheless, an MoU for Co-operation in Economic Projects between the two countries is in the works, and may come up during discussions, ahead of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to Beijing for the May 14-15 One Belt One Road summit.

According to the Indian Express, projects in the pipeline are:

*A 500 MW LNG fired power plant, for which the Sri Lankan government will issue a letter of intent to India by “end May 2017”.

*An LNG terminal/floating Storage Regasification Unit in Colombo, and related projects such as CNG outlets, for which Sri Lanka will issue a letter of intent by “mid-May 2017”;

*A 50 MW solar power plant in Sampur, near Trincomlaee for which Sri Lanka is to issue a letter of intent by “mid-May 2017”.

*Joint development of the Upper Tank Farm containing 84 tanks in an area of 800 acres by Lanka IOC and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation for which the two will set up a joint venture by the “end July 2017” and make business development plans by September 2017.

*A port, petroleum refinery and other industries in Trincomalee for which both governments will set up a joint working group by “end June 2017”.

*Road and railway projects in Trincomalee, Mannar and Jaffna.

PM Modi will also travel to the Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Tooth Relic, in Kandy.

Sri Lanka rejected China’s request to dock one of its submarines in Colombo this month, sources told Reuters, after last allowing this in October of 2014, likely on the move being strongly opposed by India.

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