The Sri Lankan government said on Wednesday it has pre-qualified Jio Platforms, a unit of India’s Reliance Industries Ltd, and Gortune International Investment Holding, to bid for stake in Sri Lanka Telecom.

This is part of Sri Lanka’s efforts to reduce government stake in state-owned firms under the $2.9-billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme. Colombo had invited applications from potential bidders for Sri Lanka Telecom PLC by November 10, and Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms was one of three companies that expressed interest in buying stake of the firm

The Sri Lankan government,. on January 12, issued a press release where it named Jio Platforms as one of the potential bidders for their government telecom company. Apart from Jio, the other two companies in the running are Gortune International Investment Holding Ltd and Pettigo Comercio International LDA.

If successful, this will be the first fully-fledged telecom unit overseas for Reliance Jio. Reliance had evaluated expansion in Estonia in 2018; however, it only has a research subsidiary in the country so far.

Of the two fully homegrown Indian telcos, Airtel is the only one to have global operations, primarily in East, Central and West Africa.