Indian HC visits Trincomalee oil tank farm

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 April 2002, 17:38 GMT]
The Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Mr.Gopalkrishna Gandhi Monday evening visited the hundred oil tanks farm at Chinabay, accompanied by his Economic and Commercial Counselor Mr.V.Ashok. The tank farm in the strategic eastern port was built by the British. Indian High Commission sources in Colombo said that the Indian government is interested in renting out about ten of the unused oil tanks for the Indian Petroleum Corporation. The Indian HC's visit comes amid media reports and speculation that the US military is looking for basing facilities in Sri Lanka.

The Indian High Commissioner with the Operation Manager of the Ceylon Petroleum Coporation at the Oil Tank Farm Monday.(Photo: TamilNet)
In the crucial exchange of letters between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Sri Lanka which are annexed to the 1987 treaty between India and Sri Lanka it is stated "Trincomalee or any other port in Sri Lanka will not be made available for military use by any country in a manner prejudicial to India's interests" and "The work of restoring and operating the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm will be undertaken as a joint venture between India and Sri Lanka."

Last week, a Texas datelined story in Singapore's Straits Times said, "As rebel fire ceases in Sri Lanka, the United States has been laying the groundwork to deploy its military personnel to the strategically located country in a move that will both aid its campaign in Afghanistan and keep New Delhi's growing influence in check. Located between the Middle East and Asia, Sri Lanka could ease the transport of US military ships, troops and equipment. Its port, Trincomalee, is one of the world's deepest natural ports and could serve as a refuelling station for the US military."

Operations Manager of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Mr. Dominic Corea told the Indian High Commissioner only fifteen of the one hundred oil tanks at Chinabay are being used by the CPC.

Mr. Gopalkrishna Gandhi was then briefed about the history of the oil tank farm.

Later Mr. Gandhi visited an oil tank which was destroyed by a Japanese suicide Kamikaze bomber during the Second World War. He also inspected the oil jetty where ships arrive for bunkering and the pipelines installed by the British to pump oil to the tanks.

Mr. Gopalkrishna Gandhi spent Monday night at the Trincomalee Navy House, which is located inside the Naval Headquarters. He left for Colombo Tuesday morning.


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