Sri Lanka has signed a US $1.1 billion deal to sell a 70% stake of the strategic Hambantota deep-sea port to China.
Hambantota port is a deep-water port in the southern tip of Sri Lanka. It sits close to busy east-west shipping lanes connecting Europe and Asia.
The deal was signed between Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Merchants Port Holding Co. (CMPort).
Under the 99-year lease agreement, CMPort will invest up to US $1.1 billion in the port and marine-related activities.
CMPort will be only responsible for commercial operations, while the SLPA will handle port’s operations, security and services.
Expanding the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationships along its sea lines of communication extending from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan, this has raised India’s apprehensions.
These sea lines run through several major maritime choke points such as the Strait of Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca and the Lombok Strait.
This also includes strategic maritime centres in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Somalia.