Sri Lanka Revives Port Deal With India, Japan

Sri Lanka has insisted its ports won’t be used for any army functions. (Representational)

Colombo:

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday introduced the revival of an Indian and Japanese funding mission to develop a deep-sea terminal in Colombo harbour, subsequent to a controversial $500-million Chinese language-run container jetty.

A tripartite deal by Sri Lanka’s earlier authorities had been on maintain amid commerce union resistance, however Rajapaksa stated the East Container Terminal (ECT) would proceed.

Approval got here after reviewing “regional geo-political issues,” Rajapaksa’s workplace stated, a reference to India’s suspicion of China’s function on the similar port.

The terminal shall be developed with 51 p.c possession by Sri Lanka’s authorities and the remaining 49 p.c as an funding by Adani Group and different stakeholders together with Japan, officers stated.

The state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) entered right into a memorandum of cooperation in Might 2019 with Sri Lanka, India and Japan to develop the ECT earlier than Rajapaksa got here to energy in November 2019.

The deep-sea jetty is positioned subsequent to the Colombo Worldwide Container Terminal which is 85 p.c owned by China and was commissioned in 2013.

The SLPA owns the remaining 15 p.c.

India lodged protests when Chinese language submarines made unannounced visits to the Chinese language-managed terminal in 2014.

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Since then, Sri Lanka has refused permission for additional submarine calls.

Almost 70 p.c of transhipment containers dealt with by Colombo was Indian export-import cargo.

In December 2017, Sri Lanka, unable to repay an enormous Chinese language mortgage, handed over one other deep sea port within the south of the island to a Beijing firm in a deal that raised issues at house and overseas.

The $1.12 billion deal, first introduced in July 2016, allowed a Chinese language state firm to take over the Hambantota port, which straddles the world’s busiest east-west transport route, on a 99-year lease.

India and the USA are each involved a Chinese language foothold at Hambantota, 240 kilometres (150 miles) south of Colombo, might give it a army naval benefit within the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka has insisted its ports won’t be used for any army functions.



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