India plans to double its trade with Lanka in next three years

COLOMBO: India plans to double its bilateral trade with Sri Lanka to $ 10 billion in next three years, Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha said today.

Speaking at the 67th Indian national day celebrations, Sinha highlighted the growing economic and commercial partnership between India and Sri Lanka and noted that since the operationalisation of bilateral 
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2000, trade has multiplied by as much as 8 times.

The trade volumes crossed the milestone of $ 5 billion in 2011-12 and the cumulative 
FDIapprovals for Indian investments stand at about $ 1 billion since 2003, with investment inflows of $ 160 million in 2012, Sinha said.

The High Commissioner also pointed out the ambitious target set for doubling bilateral trade to $ 10 billion in next three years.

The High Commissioner highlighted that India's developmental assistance projects, based on the priorities set by the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, have made impressive progress.

Under the 
Small Development Project scheme, a number of projects have been successfully completed and many more included to "our growing project portfolio in all parts of Sri Lanka", he said.

These projects straddle diverse sectors such as health, education, agriculture, fishing, small and medium enterprises development, community empowerment, art, craft and culture.

The second Phase of the Indian Housing Project for 43,000 housing units under the owner-driven mode in the Northern and Eastern Provinces launched on October 2, 2012 is making rapid progress and more than 13,000 houses, in various stages of construction, are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The target of completion of all 50,000 houses will be reached before the end of 2015.

"Given its scale and reach, the Housing Project is the flagship project of India's development assistance to Sri Lanka and is one of the largest grant assistance projects undertaken by the
Government of India in any part of the world," Sinha noted.