Responding to a question on China taking operational control of Sri Lanka’s strategically located Hambantota Port’s, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, “We are confident about the strength and enduring nature of our ties with Sri Lanka which are deep rooted and multi dimensional. Our relations with Sri Lanka stand on its own and are not dependent on our relation with any third country.”
“We continue to take up with Sri Lanka issues related to security concerns in the region and expect that our Sri Lankan friends will keep in mind our security concerns and sensitivities,” he added.
Sri Lanka had recently handed over its main southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease.
The port, near the main shipping route from Asia to Europe, is expected to play a key role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
According to media reports, Sri Lanka has received USD 292 million out of a USD 1.12 billion deal.
The China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPort) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority will own the port and the investment zone around it.
The Chinese firm will now hold 70-per cent-stake in a joint venture with the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
Chinese firm will reportedly invest an additional USD 600 million to make Hambantota port operational and USD 1.12 billion from the deal will be used for debt repayment. (Colombo Gazette)