Checkmate, China: India To Develop Strategic Airport In Northern Sri Lanka

Representative Image. (Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Airport Authority of India (AAI) will now develop airports outside of the country like other private players. Its first such project will be the revamp of an airport in Palay, a strategic area close to India’s southern coast.

AAI signed an agreement with India’s Ministry of External Affairs to prepare a detailed project report for the development of the airport at Palay. Since AAI has years of expertise in developing and operating airports, it plans to expand its global footprints. The body has developed more than 60 airports in India.

Times of India quoted an official from AAI who went on record to say, “Palaly is in Jaffna in the north — Tamil territory. India had earlier promised to develop Palaly airport which has been a demand by the northern province for some time. The airport will be Sri Lanka's first in the north, give the northern people direct connectivity with places like South India, Malaysia and Thailand. India has also offered to develop the Kankesanthurai airport also in the north, as well as the Mattala international airport in south Sri Lanka, abutting the Chinese developed Hambantota port.”

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The Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009, and India since then has been actively involved in the reconstruction efforts of the northern province. The swift action is also due to the Chinese influence in the island nation and its involvement in developing critical infrastructure in the island.

The agreement was signed between AAI’s executive director (land management and business development) Anil Gupta and MEA’s joint secretary Sanjay Panda.

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