Sri Lanka and India should move for closer economic ties: president

June 04, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka and India have an opportunity to move towards closer economic ties as the end of a 30-year war opened up new opportunities, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “We have a common heritage in trading with each other and the rest of the world,” President Rajapaksa told a business forum in Colombo held with an Indian film awards show.

“There is no development without peace. There are exciting new opportunities here.”

Rajapaksa ended an internal conflict by wiping out Tamil Tiger separatists last May. He said there were opportunities in tourism, infrastructure and manufacturing.

Jyotsna Suri, chairperson of India’s Lalit Suri Hospitality, said she was looking to get more involved in tourism to Sri Lanka.

“I think India and Sri Lanka have a huge potential for cross exchange in tourism,” Suri said.

India is already the third largest country for inward investment to Sri Lanka.

Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok Kantha said Sri Lanka was targeting more than two million tourists to visit the country by 2016 and 500,000 of them were expected from India.

Already India’s Tata, Piramal, A