Sri Lanka Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Saturday said bigger projects and investments with India would continue, after the neighbour scrapped the trilateral deal with India and Japan to develop the Colombo Port's Eastern Container Terminal (ECT).
In an exclusive interview to CNN-News18's Maha Siddiqui, Gunawardena spoke about his recent meeting with the Indian High Commission, the country's deals with China, and much more.
When asked about claims that the trade union protests against the project were orchestrated with the help of China, he said that all types of trade unions - from right to the left and of various ideologies had agitated against the matter. "As I've mentioned before, bigger projects and bigger investments and with India will continue. About China's involvement... I don't think so. That is not the position," he said.
#EXCLUSIVE |Sri Lanka Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena (@DCRGunawardena) speaks to @SiddiquiMaha over India raising concerns on Chinese firm carrying out three energy projects in Sri Lanka. He says, "Relationship with India not based on one project." pic.twitter.com/3IOJ5sk3FM— News18 (@CNNnews18) February 13, 2021
India & Sri Lanka’s Diplomatic Fallout.Sri Lanka opts out of Port DealRelationship with India not based on one project: Sri Lanka Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena (@DCRGunawardena) tells @SiddiquiMaha on #World360 pic.twitter.com/Vof3ffZz5Z— News18 (@CNNnews18) February 13, 2021
Asked about how deals with Japan and India had not gone through, and projects with China had, despite the trade unions protesting against foreign partnership, Gunawardena said that many projects were being carried out by China's assistance, and that there was always criticism by trade unions.
On how the ECT project scrapping would affect India and Sri Lanka's position, he said the countries' relations were very strong and had been so for many years. He added that the recent meeting with the Indian High Commission had been a friendly and fruitful one. "We will continue keeping this dialogue with regards to many areas that India is involved in," he said, signalling that the future relationship between the neighbours would be towards progress.