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India to build Sri Lanka’s wind farms

COLOMBO (AFP) – India has agreed to develop three Sri Lankan wind farms on islets between the countries, officials said yesterday, in a victory for New Delhi after the project was taken away from a Chinese firm.

A USD12 million project to build wind turbines on three small islands in the Palk Strait between southern India and Sri Lanka was awarded to a Chinese firm in 2019, with funding lined up from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). But work never began and the project on the islets of Nainativu, Analaitivu and Delft was later scrapped.

A joint statement issued yesterday after a visit to Colombo by India’s Foreign Minister said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed to build the installations.

Sri Lankan officials said India had agreed to provide funding in place of the ADB.

India is known to be suspicious of China’s growing economic influence in the South Asian nation, which is strategically located at the southern tip of the vast Indian sub-continent.

China and India have been competing for major infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, which is currently facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.

Colombo has asked for more loans from both nations to shore up its foreign reserves and import essentials including food, fuel and pharmaceuticals.

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. PHOTOS: AFP
A man carries a container filled with diesel fuel in Colombo