Sri Lanka is looking to be the next big investment destination for India Inc as the decades-long armed conflict is finally over in the island nation.
India, which is already the largest source of imports (nearly 17.8 per cent), ranks among the top five investors in Sri Lanka. It was the second highest donor country — with $209.2 million (Rs 978 crore) in loans and grants — next only to Japan last year.
“India’s exports to Sri Lanka in 2008-09 were $2.4 billion (Rs 11,232 crore) while imports were $356.6 million (Rs 1671 crore),” said Jyotsna Suri, chairperson and MD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, who is leading a delegation of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to Colombo for the FICCI-IFFA Global Business Forum 2010.
Suri is also talking to business associates here to look for opportunities to expand her group’s hospitality business in Colombo.
Upcoming investments are expected to be in the core sectors, such as oil exploration and production, power, IT, telecom and development of special economic zones.
Real estate companies like Omaxe, Unitech, Parsavnath and L&T Property Development have also shown interest to expand their operations in Sri Lanka.
“Many major Indian corporate houses — TATA, CEAT, IOC, Nicolas Piramal, Airtel, UltraTech, to name a few — already have a presence in Sri Lanka,” said Ashok Kanth, India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
Colombo is also targeting more than 2 million tourists and India has emerged as the largest source of tourist arrivals for the island nation.