Apr 18, Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will visit New Delhi in the last week of April ahead of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi's scheduled visit to Sri Lanka in May, according to an Indian media report.
The visit will take place in the last week of April although the dates were still being finalized, The Wire reported quoting sources.
Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to visit Colombo next month to attend the first ever United Nations' Wesak Day celebrations to be held in in Sri Lanka on 12th May.
Premier Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi aims to wrap up strategic deals and to take forward economic cooperation finalizing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering a number of major infrastructure projects.
The MoU for "economic engagement," as it being dubbed, will include plans for joint development of Trincomalee Port, which will include setting up a petroleum refinery.
More importantly, it will also include a land lease agreement for Lankan Indian oil Corporation to develop storage oil tank farms - a project that India has been particularly keen to develop in the strategically located port.
Sources told The Wire that there was still discussions going on to give a final shape to the MoU, which will be signed during Modi's visit. There was also a strong hint from New Delhi that he would only visit Sri Lanka if the strategic deals were in place to be inked.
Wickremesinghe's trip will take place around the fourth round of negotiations for the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA_. During his visit to India last October, Wickremesinghe had said optimistically that the ETCA will be finalized by 2016-end.
But officials have said it is unlikely that the economic pact will be ready in time for the Modi's visit next month.