In the latest interview to Asian News International, Indian Navy vice-chief vice-admiral G Ashok Kumar raises a concern about China’s growing influence in Sri Lanka and said that it could pose a threat to India.
“If you want to analyse whether it is a threat or not, it is a very difficult question. But the fact that when somebody is external to the region starts showing so much interest even though they might have rational reasons to do so as the majority of their energy sources pass through this region … Is it a logical thing for nations to do, yes? Could that pose a threat to us, it could. We just need to ensure that it is being closely watched,” he told ANI yesterday. He said it while answering a question on whether China’s getting hold of a new port in Sri Lanka could pose a threat to India.
The Navy’s vice-chief remarks came after the Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi says, “Regarding the Colombo Port City project, we have been closely following recent developments from our security perspective.”
The Sri Lankan Parliament recently approved the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill, allowing China to build the port city on land reclaimed from the sea.
In addition, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) last week to develop Hambantota Port as a strategic energy centre in Sri Lanka. Hambantota International Port Group is a Public-Private Partnership and a Strategic Development Project between Sri Lanka and China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPort).