Sri Lanka only leasing out oil tanks under the proposed deal: Wickremesinghe

Vastavam web: Sri Lanka will only lease out oil tanks to India under the proposed deal to jointly operate a strategic oil facility in the eastern port district of Trincomalee, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said.Seeking to dispel concerns that his government is selling state assets to India, China, US and Japan, he said, “We are going to cater to the oil demand in India by leasing out the tanks.”
Workers of Sri Lanka’s state-run petroleum company last month held a strike to protest the proposed deal with India to jointly operate the strategic oil facility.They, however, ended strike after an assurance from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that during his visit to India that week he would not sign any agreement on the World War II-era oil tanks.Sri Lanka and India signed an MoU on economic co- operation in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Lankan counterpart Wickremesinghe in New Delhi last month.
Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has opposed the deal and accused the Lankan government of selling state assets.Rajapaksa’s supporter Udaya Gammanpila told parliament yesterday that a “future patriotic government” would nationalise all assets given to India by the current government.Wimal Weerawansa, another key Rajapaksa’s backer, called for raising of black flags during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country next week.The opposition claims that Modi will sign the oil tank deal during his visit despite President Maithripala Sirisena rubbishing it as misinformation.