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India denies that Sri Lankan oil tank agreement has been scrapped

Following claims by Sri Lanka’s Energy Minister, Udaya Gammanpila, that 99 oil tanks loaned to the Indian Oil Corporation in 2003 had been withdrawn, India’s High Commission has denied these claims maintaining that the bilateral understanding on jointly developing and operating the tank farm stood.

Gammanpila had claimed that the 2003 agreement which saw Sri Lanka lease these tanks to the IOC for 35 years for an annual payment of $1,00,000 had been scrapped with Sri Lanka reclaiming the tanks. This followed heavy pressure from Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) trade unionists.

However, Gammanpila has now stated that Sri Lanka will revisit the agreement on new terms. These new terms would see the CPC retain a majority stake whilst the IOC would hold a minority stake. He maintains that no agreement has yet been reached public discussion and input from “the Maha Sangha [Buddhist clergy], other religious leaders, nationalist organisations and trade unions”.

This follows Sri Lanka’s unilateral withdrawal from the $500-$700 million-dollar ECT agreement which had been secured with India and Japan. Nationalist Buddhist monks have warned the government against selling off foreign assets warning of an "Indian invasion".

Read more here.

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