Saturday, August 11, 2018

India to Pilot Lanka’s Mattala Airport? MEA’s 'Maybe' Adds to Confusion

New Delhi: Confusion around the operations and working of Sri Lanka’s Mattala Rajapaksa airport refuses to end. Just days after the Civil Aviation Ministry told Parliament that India was not looking at controlling stake in the airport, the Ministry of External Affairs said New Delhi was considering a proposal for the same.
On Thursday, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that while it was premature to comment, the ministry was “currently exploring the opportunity to operate and manage…” He also highlighted that there were several bilateral projects related to infrastructure which was under discussion between India and Sri Lanka. There was an MoU, Kumar added, on economic projects that was signed during the visit of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister last year in April. “This is part of strengthening of connectivity in the region,” he said.
Kumar’s statement came weeks after Sri Lankan civil aviation minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had told Lankan parliament that the country’s government had asked the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to submit its business plan to operate the loss-making Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport. Kumar said he was aware of the statement.