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28th March 2024 (12 Topics)

China to 'assist' Sri Lanka in building deep sea port

Context

China (Sri Lanka’s primary bilateral creditor) has pledged to develop Sri Lanka’s strategic deep sea port and the capital's airport after talks with his counterpart in Beijing.China says it is willing to work with Sri Lanka to carry forward the spirit of the Rubber-Rice Pact.

Key Highlights

  • China offered “assistance to develop” the capital’s Katunayake International Airport, Hambantota Port, and Colombo Port.
    • The strategically significant Hambantota Port was handed to China in 2017 on a 99-year lease. 
    • The Hambantota Port, also known as the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, is a maritime inland port located in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
    • It is located down the southern coast of the island.
    • Located ten nautical miles from the global shipping route linking the Far East with the West, Hambantota Port is Sri Lanka's most diversified deep-water, multi-purpose port.

Fact Box: Rubber-Rice Pact

  • India and the United States are both concerned that a Chinese foothold at Hambantota, on the island’s southern coast, could boost its naval advantage in the Indian Ocean.
  • Sri Lanka has insisted its ports will not be used for any military purposes, but New Delhi has objected to Chinese research vessels calling at Hambantota fearing that they could be used for espionage.

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