Sunday, Jun 09, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Sri Lanka was opening up the skies for various foreign airlines and wanted India to reciprocate.
As of now, the Sri Lankan Airlines had got approval for 4,973 passengers a week from India while the demand was for about 15,000. Sri Lanka, he said, was keen on permitting Indian domestic carriers to operate to the country.
Similarly, a ferry service between Colombo and Tuticorin would start shortly, the details of which were being worked out by the two countries.
Addressing members of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) and the Karnataka Small-Scale Industries Association (KASSIA), Ravi Karunanayake, said both the countries had to look at syngerising than competing; only then it would be possible to take on the world.
China was galloping on various fronts and was going to be a threat.
Sri Lanka was not alarmed at the deficit of $ 46 billion in balance of trade it had with India as long as it was a win-win situation for the two countries. Inviting Indian investors to Sri Lanka, he said the Indo-Lanka Agreement allowed Indian investors to have a base in Sri Lanka and to export back.
Sri Lanka, he said, was looking at Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to focus its attention on improving investment opportunities. Sri Lanka was strong in the services sector which contributed nearly 53 per cent to the GDP, while India, he mentioned, had its strength in the manufacturing sector.
The Minister said the Sri Lanka delegation came with a lot of fears and expectations to India and after its meeting with the Indian Industry Minister, Murasoli Maran, Sri Lanka understands "India is a friend we thought they are''.He said the assurances given by the Indian Minister should materialise in a month.
Sri Lanka was a country on the move, coming out of the ethnic war. The Government was giving priority for improving its economy through foreign investments. Any investments in Sri Lanka would find quick approvals.
The FKCCI president, M. Sathyanarayana Swamy, said Karnataka's strength was in engineering, sericulture, information technology, bio-technology and food processing.
The KASSIA president, S. Babu, said Sri Lanka had on its import list iron and steel products, electrical machinery equipment, leather apparel, dairy and processed food, etc., and Karnataka could be a source point for many of these.
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