NEW DELHI: The Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka will be signed by the end of the year and Sri Lanka will aim to attract investment from the $500 billion economy, encompassing Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala.
“The proposed technology and economic cooperation agreement will be signed by the end of this year… Prime Minister Narendra Modi and myself have agreed on this,” said Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, speaking at the India Economic Summit.
Pointing out that the five fastest growing southern states of India have population of 250 million and command a combined GDP of $400 billion, Wickremesinghe said that the addition of Sri Lanka’s 22 million population and $80 economy would make the sub-region’s GDP more than $500 billion.
“That is Sweden (size of economy)… imagine what it would be if we (India and Sri Lanka) work together,” he said.
The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Sri Lanka will be also expanded to encompass areas beyond trading of goods and services and include investment and technology cooperation. “Asia will bail out the world (from the economic downturn) if we are allowed to write the rules… else we create our own system,” said Wickremesinghe.
The FTA between Singapore, Indonesia and India along with Sri Lanka through the ETCA will make a strong regional economic bloc. “The whole area around the Bay of Bengal as region of economic cooperation… the growth is here,” said Wickremesinghe, proposing to bring in Malaysia and the other BIMSTEC countries.