With Sri Lanka moving ahead with the China-backed Colombo Port City project, India on Thursday, June 17, 2021 said it expects that the island nation will remain mindful of their “excellent bilateral cooperation”, including for mutual security in the maritime domain.

Asked about the project at an online media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India has been closely following the recent developments from its security perspective.

The country has also taken note of the concerns raised in Sri Lanka regarding several aspects of the framework for the Colombo Port City, he said.

“We expect that Sri Lanka will remain mindful of our excellent bilateral cooperation, including for mutual security in our shared environment, which includes the maritime domain,” Mr. Bagchi said.

His remarks come weeks after the Sri Lankan Parliament approved the controversial Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill, with the government saying the Chinese-backed project would bring in investment and boost the island-nation’s economy.

The Opposition parties, however, had alleged that the bill would lead to the creation of a Chinese colony in Sri Lanka.

The USD 1.4-billion Colombo Port City project, expected to play a key role in China’s ambitious “Maritime Silk Road” project in India’s backyard, is said to be the single-largest private sector development in Sri Lanka.

China has built the port city on reclaimed sea, adjoining the Port of Colombo.

On India-assisted projects in Sri Lanka, Mr. Bagchi said the country has a very extensive portfolio of partnership development projects in the island nation and it is in regular contact with the Sri Lankan authorities regarding their implementation.

To a separate question on media reports about India being the weakest link of the QUAD grouping, Bagchi said by now, the QUAD and the world know the country’s value.(The Hin


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