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Saturday, October 2, 2021

India gave a big blow to China in Sri Lanka, now Indian company will build sea terminal in Colombo

The way has been cleared for the construction of an Indian company-owned deep sea terminal at Colombo Port. The much-awaited scheme has been signed between The Sri Lanka Ports Authority and India's private sector company after the government approval in Sri Lanka. This is being seen as a big setback for China moving towards 'economic occupation' in Sri Lanka.

Largest foreign investment in Sri Lanka's port sector

The project is believed to be the largest ever foreign investment in the port sector of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Ports said in a statement that the deal is worth about $700 million. Adani Group will build this port in association with Sri Lankan company John Keels. John Keels will be a partner of around 34 per cent and Adani Group will hold 51 per cent.

Will be owned by the Indian company

The newly constructed container jetty (port) has been named Colombo West International Terminal. In the first phase of the project, a 600 meter terminal will be built and it will be completed within two years. As per the agreement, it will be owned by an Indian company for the next 35 years, after which the terminal will be under the Sri Lankan government. This new container jetty will handle the movement of 32 lakh containers every year. It is about 1.4 kilometers long and 20 meters deep.

Much awaited agreement strategically important

It took many years for India to get permission in the strategically important Colombo port of Sri Lanka. Trade unions affiliated to the ruling coalition had earlier opposed giving India a partially built terminal inside the port. The agreement was to be completed in February but was put on hold due to lack of agreement. Now all its obstacles have been removed.

Hambantota port was handed over to the Chinese company

China has an old debt of billions of dollars on Sri Lanka. To save its deteriorating economy, Sri Lanka again asked for a new loan of $ 2.2 billion from China. Instead, it had to hand over the Hambantota port to China on a 99-year lease under heavy pressure in 2017.

Agreement is so important

Many countries are worried to see Sri Lanka entangled in China's debt trap. In fact, there is a fear that China may take Sri Lanka slowly but gradually in lieu of debt. If this happens, then China's interference and influence in the Indian Ocean will increase. Sri Lanka handed over the Hambantota port to the Chinese company in return for a loan of $ 1.4 billion. Later, on objection from India, Sri Lanka stopped the use of this port for military service.