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Trincomalee Oil Tank farm

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 03, Jan 2022
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Why in News?

Recently, Sri Lanka announced that the Indian Oil Subsidiary Lanka IOC would be given 49% stake in the joint development of the Trincomalee Oil Tank farm, with Ceylon Petroleum Corporation keeping 51%.

Why has this become a historical deal?

35-year-old agreement: If it goes according to plan, India and Sri Lanka would have finally achieved the implementation of an agreement —  contained in an exchange of letters between then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J R Jayewarndene as part of the annexure to the India-Sri Lanka Accord of July 29, 1987 — that the tank farm would be developed jointly.

Why does Trincomalee matter?

The pre-WWII era oil storage facility has a capacity of nearly 1 million tonnes, which far outstrips the demand in Sri Lanka.

  • Strategic Location in the Indian Ocean: Located inland from China Bay, the facility was meant to be serviced by the natural harbour at Trincomalee.
  • Easily Accessible: In 2010-2011, officials had pitched for refurbishing the tank farm as an extension of Indian Oil storage on the Indian east coast, or for developing it as a refuelling facility to small ships. Trincomalee is the nearest port to Chennai.
  • Balancing China: From India’s geostrategic viewpoint, Trincomalee is an important counterbalance to the southern Hambantota Port backed substantially by China.

Therefore, India’s interest is to prevent a third country from entering the 850-acre facility.

About the Indo-Lanka Accord:

  • It is popularly referred to as the Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord.
  • It was signed in 1987 on the pretext of the Civil War in Sri Lanka (between Tamils and Sinhala community).
  • The accord sought to balance India’s strategic interests, interest of people of Indian origin in Sri Lanka and Tamil minority rights in Sri Lanka.
  • The accord saw the placement of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka to resolve the Sri Lankan Civil War.
  • The accord also resulted in enactment of the thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the Provincial Councils Act of 1987.


Malabar Naval Exercise:

  • Malabar is the most complex naval exercise India does with any other country.
  • Malabar, which began as a bilateral exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992 and became multilateral with the addition of Australia and Japan, has also significantly grown in scope and complexity.
  • Twenty-five editions of the exercise have been conducted till date with the last edition conducted in two phases in August and October 2021.

Two plant species discovered in Kerala:

Researchers have reported two new plant species from the biodiversity-rich Western Ghats regions in Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad districts.

They have been christened Fimbristylis sunilii and Neanotis prabhuii.

  • Collected from the grasslands of Ponmudi hills, Thiruvananthapuram, Fimbristylis sunilii has been named after plant taxonomist C.N. Sunil. It has been provisionally assessed as data deficient (DD) under the IUCN Red List categories.
  • Neanotis prabhuii has been discovered in the Chembra Peak grasslands of Wayanad. It hails from the family Rubiaceae and grows on high-altitude grasslands. It has been categorised data deficient (DD).