India to Win Mattala Airport Project in Sri Lanka

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport Terminal Building, Sri Lanka, Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport Terminal Building, Sri Lanka, Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

India wants to develop an airport in Sri Lanka. The country recently has showed its interest in developing Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).

The Sri Lankan Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva recently has submitted a cabinet paper that reads, “India had sent a proposal in May 2017 to form a joint venture company between Government of India or its assigned entity and Government of Sri Lanka or its assigned entity for the operation of MRIA on the basis of sharing of equity at the ratio of 70:30 for 40 years”.

India wants to invest $205 million of the $293 million total. The rest of $88 million will be on the Government of Sri Lanka to carry  “as per their valuation of assets of MRIA.”

The Sri Lankan government called for “Expression of Interest” last year in December for the development project of Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).

This project is meant to be through a public-private partnership (PPP) process.

Among the 8 parties who sent their proposal for the project, the Sri Lankan authority is considering the proposal by the Airport Authority of India.

But the Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that he instructed to carefully go through the other proposals as well as the cabinet is yet to decide who to trust on the project with.

According to Nimal Siripala de Silva’s cabinet paper, India is interested to “operate, manage, maintain and develop MRIA with and not limited to commercial aviation, aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul, flying school, etc.”

The Sri Lankan Daily News reported, “The Minister has asked Cabinet to further study the proposal and evaluate it based on the re-valuation of the assets and lease value of the land in Mattala, to appoint a Cabinet Appointed Negotiation Committee (CANC) assisted by a Project Committee to evaluate the proposal and to make recommendations to Cabinet.”

The MRIA  could be a significant project for the Indians as they are under pressure from many of the neighbors including China and Pakistan. India’s domino of influence on its neighbors could help Airport Authority of India to win the project easier than any other parties.

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