Background: India-Sri Lanka relations, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Trincomalee, Hambantota, China’s Silk Road project.
- Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody said that India and Sri Lanka will jointly operate 30 oil tanks in Trincomalee, kick-starting a plan to develop the coastal town into a regional petroleum hub.
- He was referring to a proposal that PM Modi announced during his March 2015 visit to the island-nation.
- Lanka IOC (a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation) currently operates 15 out of the 99 storage tanks in Trincomalee, located on Sri Lanka’s east coast.
- Given the strategic importance of Trincomalee, India is keen on expanding its operations at the oil farm in the coastal city. The joint venture would matter to New Delhi all the more now, after Colombo recently scrapped a coal power project in Trincomalee involving the National Thermal Power Corporation.
- Weerakkody invited Indian companies, among others, to invest in a refinery in Hambantota, in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province. The city houses a $361 million Chinese-funded harbour and is a crucial point in China’s Silk Road project.