India’s Adani Group is the frontrunner to develop Sri Lanka’s East Container Terminal (ECT) in Colombo port, despite opposition from Sinhala nationalist groups and trade unions.
Bloomberg reported that Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. and a local partner recently received approval to sign a deal with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
Adani, India's biggest ports and logistics company, signed a preliminary agreement for the project last year. The details of stake holdings are yet to be confirmed as opposition from rival political parties and unions fearing foreign control, had stalled the deal.
The ECT project was jointly agreed upon by Sri Lanka, India and Japan however in early July, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that there was no finall decision on the project.
This statement followed strong opposition from rival political parties and unions which asserted that Sri Lanka was "giving away national assets" to India. This was even though Sri Lanka's port Authority was to retain 100% ownership of the facility, as per the 2019 tripartite Memorandum of Cooperation.