India has received the draft framework on the proposed economic and technology corporation agreement with Sri Lanka, the Indian envoy has said here, assuring that India will ensure that the deal benefits people of both countries.

“Last week we have received the draft of the agreement prepared by Sri Lanka. India is currently studying it and a response will be sent,” Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha said during a visit to the central town of Kandy to meet with the Buddhist religious leaders.

Sinha said that the Economic and Technology Corporation Agreement deal was proposed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he visited India last September.

He said that India has been given only the outline of the agreement and proper negotiations have not yet commenced.

The ETCA agreement seeks to boost cooperation in technical areas, scientific expertise and research amongst institutions, boost standards of goods and services able to compete on the global market and improve opportunities for manpower training and human resource development.

ETCA has become a political issue for the government with opposition and professional groups protesting against it, claiming that it would deny job opportunities for Sri Lankans with an influx of Indian job seekers to Sri Lanka.

Opposition political parties in Sri Lanka have raised concerns about the agreement saying it will not benefit Sri Lanka.

Sinha, however, assured that India will work with Sri Lanka to ensure that the agreement benefits “the people of both countries”.

The Indian envoy himself has come under fire from the opposition and professional groups who even suggested that he be expelled for his ETCA favoured comments.

Sinha also talked about the proposed Indian ambulance service to be established in Sri Lanka.

“All personnel nurses, paramedics and drivers will be Sri Lankan and they will be trained in Hyderabad,” Sinha said.

(Business Standard)