Strategic port Hambantota under Chinese control

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  • 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.