The Beijing-backed Colombo port city project raised eyebrows in Delhi, with India hoping Sri Lanka to remain concerned about maritime security. Last month, the Sri Lankan Parliament approved bills for the creation of 2 SEZs – the projects of the Port City of Colombo and the Economic Commission of the Port City of Colombo.
“We hope that Sri Lanka will remain attentive to our excellent bilateral cooperation, including for mutual security in our common environment, which includes the maritime domain,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the meeting. a virtual weekly press conference.
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The project is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which has been criticized by major democratic countries for causing a debt crisis in countries that have partnered with Beijing for it. According to Chinese state media, it is China’s largest project in Sri Lanka with a total project value of $ 1.4 billion.
The spokesperson said that “we are closely following recent developments in our security perspective” with regard to the port project, stressing that New Delhi “noted the concerns that have been raised in Sri Lanka regarding several aspects of the port. part of the Colombo Port City. “
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This development comes even as Sri Lanka has withdrawn from the tripartite pact with India and Japan for the development of the strategic East Container Terminal (ECT). Instead, Colombo has given up on the underdeveloped Western container terminal by inviting Indian companies.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka High Commissioner Gopal Baglay on Thursday met a delegation of five members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), led by MP R. Sampanthan.
A statement from the Indian mission said at the meeting, the high commissioner “reiterated India’s support for decentralization as part of a united Sri Lanka on the basis of the full implementation of 13A” which would be “in line with Tamil aspirations for equality, peace and reconciliation and would strengthen Sri Lanka.”
The 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution is the result of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan Accord signed between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President JR Jayewardene which aims to delegate powers to provinces and protect the rights of Tamil minorities in the country.
During the envoy’s meeting with the Tamil parties, emphasis was also placed on the development of northern and eastern Sri Lanka and on improving connectivity between the two countries in the post-conflict period. Covid. India has participated in housing projects in this part of the country.