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Sri Lanka Revises Deal For Port With China, India`s Concerns Addressed

Colombo, July 25, 2017: Sri Lanka`s cabinet cleared a revised agreement for its Chinese-built southern port of Hambantota on Tuesday, the government said, after terms of the first pact sparked widespread public anger in the island nation.

Updated:Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 00:09

Sri Lanka Revises Deal For Port With China, India`s Concerns AddressedColombo, July 25, 2017: Sri Lanka`s cabinet cleared a revised agreement for its Chinese-built southern port of Hambantota on Tuesday, the government said, after terms of the first pact sparked widespread public anger in the island nation.

The port, close to the world`s busiest shipping lanes, has been mired in controversy ever since state-run China Merchants Port Holdings, which built it for $1.5 billion, signed an agreement taking an 80 percent stake.

Under the new deal, which Reuters has examined, the Sri Lankan government has sought to limit China`s role to running commercial operations at the port while it has oversight of broader security. The new terms will help allay concerns of India as also in Japan and the United States, that the port won`t be used for military purposes

In 2014, India was alarmed when a Chinese submarine docked in Colombo, where another Chinese firm is building a $1.4 billion port city on reclaimed land.

India has long considered Sri Lanka, just off its southern coast, as within its sphere of influence and sought to push back against China`s expanding maritime presence. In May, Sri Lanka turned down a Chinese request to dock a submarine.

Chinese control of Hambantota, which is part of its modern-day "Silk Route" across Asia and beyond, as well as a plan to acquire 15,000 acres (23 square miles) to develop an industrial zone next door, had raised fears that it could also be used for Chinese naval vessels.

Source: NDTV

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