Colombo pushes for Indian dispossession of Trincomalee oil tanks

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 June 2020, 22:20 GMT]
Colombo’s Minister of Power, Energy and Transport, Mahinda Amaraweera has met with Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay requesting India to obtain a few of the oil tanks from the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), according to a Daily Mirror report on Wednesday. “I requested Mr Baglay to help us obtain a few of the tanks from the IOC and received a positive response from him. He is of the view was that there needs to be an official-level dialogue between the two parties with the blessings of the Indian government because IOC is a private company,” the Daily Mirror quoted Mr Amaraweera as saying. In the meantime, a piece of news filed by the SL government-owned Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) on Monday said that Mr Amaraweera, in a meeting with the trade unions, was blaming Mr Baglay for not giving positive responses to a letter sent to him earlier in this regard.

The latest development also coincides with the visit of Pakistan’s High Commissioner Major General (retd) Muhammad Saad Khattak meeting Sinhala nationalist SL Governor of East Mrs Anuradha Yahampath at Trincomalee last Thursday.

Sinhala nationalist hardliners, who are opposed to the UNP-led alliance have stepped up their campaign against the continued leasing of China Bay Tankfarm in Trincomalee to Lanka IOC PLC, a private subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation in the island.

The British built the farm of 101 tanks at Chinabay as an oil storage facility to its eastern naval fleet anchored at the Trincomalee harbour during the Second World War.

Following the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, the then Indian Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi wrote a letter to the then SL President J.R. Jayawardene. The letter exchange was an annexure to the agreement, that specified the following:

  1. In this spirit, you had, in the course of our discussions agreed to meet some of India's concerns as follows:

    1. Your Excellency and myself will reach an early understanding about the relevance and employment of foreign military and intelligence personnel with a view to ensuring that such presences will not prejudice Indo-Sri Lankan relations.
    2. Trincomalee or any other ports in Sri Lanka will not be made available for military use by any country in a manner prejudicial to India's interests.
    3. The work of resotoring and operating the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm will be undertaken as a joint venture between India and Sri Lanka.
    4. Sri Lanka's agreements with foreign broadcasting organizations will be reviewed to ensure that any facilities set up by them in Sri Lanka are used solely as public broadcasting facilities and not for any military or intelligence purposes.

Instead of acknowledging the decades-old Eezham Tamil aspiration for self-determination as a nation, India chose to act, purely based on its strategic interests in 1987. New Delhi continued to abet genocidal Sri Lanka’s war against Eezham Tamils by providing arms, armed personnel and intelligence to Colombo until the genocidal onslaught in 2009.

The provincial council solution facilitated by the 13th amendment in 1987 has not only failed to deliver any political solution as a viable alternative to the armed struggle waged by the Tamils before 2009. India has miserably failed to safeguard what the 1987 agreement had recognised as the traditional homeland of Tamils and the merger of Northern and Eastern provinces.

After 2009, the provinces have been subjected to accelerated, systematic structural, demographic and heritage genocide.

Related Articles:
26.04.20   Gotabaya faces test on balancing foreign powers’ access to T..
30.05.03   Chinabay oil tank farm modernization to begin
28.05.03   Indian Oil Corp begins operations in Sri Lanka
26.04.02   Indians bid for Trincomalee oil storage facility
02.04.02   Indian HC visits Trincomalee oil tank farm

External Links:
Daily Mirror: India assures support to SL to obtain few of the Trinco oil tanks
Daily FT: Plummeting oil prices, missed opportunities and cheap Lankan politics
SLBC: Discussions will be held to obtain Trincomalee fuel storages from India
Xinhua: Sri Lanka to double crude oil tank capacity by 2020
The Economic Times: ‘Investment in Lankan oil plant is at a very preliminary stage’
Board of Investment of SL: BOI Statement Regarding Oil Refinery Project in Hambantota Tank 91 – The Story Of The Trincomalee Oil Tank Destroyed In World War 2
Hindustan Times: Use the oil crash to boost India’s strategic reserves



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