Gautam Adani, an Indian billionaire
Gautam Adani, an Indian billionaire

According to official sources in Colombo and New Delhi, Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group chosen to develop a major port terminal project in Sri Lanka, will meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo on Monday, 25 October.

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According to a senior official, Mr. Adani would be meeting the President to discuss the West Container Terminal project during the private visit on Sunday night (24) night.

Despite requesting anonymity, the source confirmed that a “high profile visit” would include meetings with “top Sri Lankan dignitaries”.

Adani’s visit comes less than a month after the Adani Group, in a virtual ceremony, signed a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement with its Sri Lankan partner in the project John Keells Holdings, and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), to jointly develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) at the Colombo Port.

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The Hindu reported that Adani is interested in collaborating on ports, power, and renewable energy projects in Sri Lanka, according to sources in India familiar with the development.

“When Adani meets President Rajapaksa, he will discuss possible projects in these sectors,” a source told The Hindu.

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Sri Lanka’s decision early this year to scrap a trilateral agreement with India and Japan to jointly develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port sparked controversy, so the Rajapaksa government offered the WCT project as “a compromise”.

According to The Hindu, unlike the earlier ECT project, there is no Indian government involvement in the WCT project, with the Adani Group participating as a private investor, amid questions from Sri Lankan experts regarding the lack of transparency surrounding how the investor was selected.

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On March 15, 2021, Adani tweeted confirmation of the project: “Grateful to the leaders of GoI, GoSL, SLPA & John Keells for the opportunity to build WCT, Colombo.” A partnership as significant as this is a symbol of deep strategic ties between nations with long histories that are interwoven. The container industry will grow for decades.”

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