Colombo City Port – China Back in the Game in Sri Lanka
India will have to continue to be watchful on the Sri Lanka front with inauguration of the Colombo City Project days after being sworn in by Prime Minister and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa denotes that the China tilt which was the trade mark of his regime is likely to continue.
With inauguration of Colombo Port City Project by Prime Minister and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 07 December China Sri Lanka relations are back on track
Speaking to the Xinhua News Agency after the official opening of the Colombo Port city on Saturday, Premier Rajapaksa dismissed the notion of a Chinese “debt trap” and assured that the Chinese does not control Sri Lanka’s ports.
“China has provided tremendous support for the country’s development. We will never forget it. We do not believe in the so-called ‘debt trap’. There is also no such thing as China’s “control” of Sri Lanka’s ports, including Hambantota or situations that undermine Sri Lanka’s sovereignty,” he said
He said a series of major cooperation projects between the two countries, including Port City of Colombo and Hambanthota Port have promising prospects.
Meanwhile information received from Hambantota International Port (HIP) stated that 6 RORO ships were calling at the port, discharging 18,288 vehicles in a week.
Out of the total, 16,830 vehicles were for transshipment and 1,458 vehicles were for local agencies. The discharging operation for these vessels were carried out simultaneously.
Five vessels have arrived from Mumbai, Chennai and Singapore. The vessels were from the shipping lines Hoegh, NYK and Glovis all of who have Terminal Service Agreements (TSA) with HIP.
Three vessels from Mumbai have brought 1,337 vehicles, 1,055 vehicles and 5,896 vehicles respectively, while the Singapore’s LeoLeader. has brought 1,462 vehicles. A vessel from Chennai has also brought 3,561 for re-exportation.
The Hambantota International Port (HIP) has reached its 1 million MT benchmark for 2019 with volumes coming from RORO, Bulk and Liquid cargo sectors.
The Second major joint project, Colombo Port City has added 269 hectares to the map of Sri Lanka.
Colombo Port City was officially declared part of Sri Lanka at a ceremony held under the patronage of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan and officials of the Chinese Embassy were also present on the occasion.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, when he was President laid the foundation stone for the Colombo Port City on 17 September 2014 in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping. With a total investment of US $ 1.5 billion, it was planned to reclaim 233 hectares of sea area between Colombo Port and Galle Face.
Xinhua reported Colombo Port City is Sri Lanka’s largest Foreign Direct Investment project and is expected to attract billions of U.S. dollars of investments in the coming years.
It will also create over 80,000 jobs and will transform Sri Lanka into a regional business and financial hub.
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s first visit to India led to a degree of reassurance in New Delhi that the new leadership in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean which has been in the eye of the storm in the past will ensure that the security considerations of its larger neighbor in the North will not be impacted in any way through partnerships with other nations implying China.
However inauguration of the Colombo City Project days after being sworn in by Mahinda Rajapaksa denotes that the China tilt which was the trade mark of his regime is likely to continue.
Mahinda Rajapaksa had blamed India’s intelligence agency RAW for his defeat in the Presidential elections in 2014 which has led to his being in the political wilderness but now has staged a strong comeback, India will have to continue to be watchful on the Sri Lanka front.