Sathosa
Aug 06, 2017

Colombo port to India after China claimed H’tota port! Featured

Reports say that India is interested in gaining operational responsibilities of Colombo port, after China was handed over operations of Hambantota port, ‘Sathhanda’ reports quoting government sources.

The newspaper says India previously showed an interest about the oil tanks in Trincomalee and an economic zone in the area.

Now, it is focusing its attention on the eastern supplies terminal of the Colombo port and has been holding talks with development strategy minister Malik Samarawickrema, who has agreed to their suggestion unofficially.

JVP alleges attempt to sell terminal

Recently, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the media the SLPA had developed the eastern supplies terminal at a cost of Rs. 10,800 million, but that the economic committee headed by the prime minister had decided to sell an 85 per cent stake of the terminal, while retaining only 15 pc of its shares.

However, president Maithripala Sirisena vowed at the 38th anniversary celebration of SLPA recently that the terminal would not be sold for any reason.

India’s concerns

Reports say India is concerned over China’s entry to the scene at Hambantota port and raised its concerns with both government ministers and leaders of the joint opposition.

It is thereafter that Namal Rajapaksa said the neighbouring India would be in difficulties after the government got a Chinese company’s involved to handle the strategically important H’tota port.

The JO is trying to win over India by taking advantage of the divisions within government ranks over this matter, and has even been contacted by Indian intelligence services.

That is why government ministers have said a foreign intelligence service was behind the JO’s sabotaging of the parliamentary debate on the issue.

Not opposed to pacify India

The government says it is not opposed to attempts to pacify India, say the sources.

In view of the Colombo port’s South Asia Gateway Terminal being given to Australia and international container terminal jetty to China, a handover of the eastern terminal to India will not happen.

If that happens, the state’s role in the port’s operations will be completely weakened, and there will be strong worker opposition.

Therefore, the government wants to get Indian involvement in the Trincomalee oil tanks complex and official level talks with India in that regard will take place, add the sources.

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