The proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka will be signed by the end of this year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told an Indian Economic Summit on Thursday. Speaking at the India Economic Summit organized by World Economic Forum along with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Wickremesinghe noted that the FTAs with Singapore and Indonesia by India and by Sri Lanka along with ETCA will help the two countries become a strong regional economic power.

“The Prime Minister Narendra Modi and myself have agreed on this,” the visiting Prime Minister said in reference to ETCA addressing the inaugural session on Thursday.
He pointed that the five fastest growing southern states have population of 250 million and a combined GDP of $400 billion. With addition of Sri Lanka’s 22 million population and $80 economy the GDP in the sub-region is a $500 billion economy. “That is Sweden (economy)…imagine what it would be if we (India and Sri Lanka) work together,” said Wickremesinghe.

The Sri Lankan PM also proposed to bring in Indonesia and Malaysia and the BIMSTEC countries. “The whole area around the Bay of Bengal as region of economic cooperation…the growth is here,” said Wickremesinghe.The Sri Lankan PM returned to the island on Friday following a three-day visit to India which followed a three day official visit to New Zealand from 1-3 October 2016.

During his stay, the Prime Minister met Indian PM Narendra Modi, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari.

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