The Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) has not yet approved plans to prepare a report on developing Jaffna’s Palaly airport, with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) citing political instability as a reason for the delay.
The AAI has completed a detailed project report for developing an airport in Kalay in Myanmar but the MEA is yet to give the required permission for a similar report to be produced on Palaly.
“The delay in getting MEA nod is due to the current political climate in Sri Lanka. If the relationship between both countries, which is still sort of fragile, gets stronger in the coming months, we will definitely get a go-ahead to develop the airport,” an AAI official said.
Palaly is currently occupied by Sri Lankan military forces who have the area, vast sections of which are occupied civilian land, as a High Security Zone within which they operate an air base and headquarters.