India and crisis-hit Sri Lanka revive talks to link electric grid.
A talk resumed between India and Sri Lanka passing through a crisis phase, on linking the electricity grid, officials told Reuters on Tuesday. And this talk could aid New Delhi’s goal of reducing China’s influence on the island nation, now grappling with an extreme financial crisis. There is no quick prospect that power cuts brought by the crisis could be eased by the talks, which are a preliminary effort on a multi-year project both sides have explored before.
India has extended financial assistance which is about billions of dollars to its southern neighbour Sri Lanka to fight the crisis, caused due to a steep drop in foreign exchange reserve that stalled imports of essentials like fuels, disrupting the power supply. Protest and political turmoil brought on by the situation of inflation which leads to currency devaluation and shortages have prompted the nation of 22 million to begin talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan programme, even backed by India.
Secretary of Sri Lanka’s power ministry, Wasantha Perera, told Reuters that “It is very initial stages of the discussion”. However, given no additional particulars.
The grid connection project came up in talks in March with India’s power minister, when Basil Rajpaksha, then Sri Lanka’s finance minister, visited New Delhi to seek assistance. And also said, “it will be mutually beneficial”. Both the foreign minister of India and Sri Lanka denied to immediately respond to the Reuters request for additional comment on the talks between both the country related to the link of the electric grid.
Its whole daily power demand is just a fraction of India and meeting between the country may cause a peak demand which can be challenging during a tough situation like drought, etc. It would enable Sri Lanka to obtain electricity during the operational maintenance and drought and export excess generation to India, since about two-thirds of the whole electricity in Sri Lanka is generated by oil and coal-fired plants, and the rest is all by the hydro projects.
An official of both the country (India and Sri Lanka) are turning to a project which has made little progress since it was first proposed a decade ago, with the motive to link the neighbours with a miles-long transmission line running under the Indian Ocean. The project to link the two grids has been in the works for years since the neighbour country signed a pact n 2010 on a feasibility study for an undersea power cable. A study by the Power Grid Corporation of India envisaged the deployment of either a 500 megawatt (MW) or a 1,000 megawatt ( MW) undersea transmission system. The minimum length between India and Sri Lanka is a narrow strip of ocean known as the Palk Strait, which is about 40 km and the length of an undersea cable would depend on its alignment. The long span of subsea electrical cables includes the NordLink, between the two countries which are Germany and Norway, which is about 623 kilometres long.
The grid connectivity project has secured the Chinese infrastructure deals in recent years and this project could become part of New Delhi’s request from Sri Lanka.