With China funding Colombo Port City, India urges Sri Lanka to be ‘mindful’ of bilateral ties

By The Print

In reaction to the China-funded Colombo Port City project, India Thursday said it expects Sri Lanka to “remain mindful” of the growing bilateral ties between New Delhi and Colombo, especially from the security standpoint.

“Regarding the Colombo Port City project, we have been closely following recent developments from our security perspective. We have also noted the concerns that have been raised in Sri Lanka regarding several aspects of the framework for the Colombo Port City,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, said at a media briefing Thursday.

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

This comes in the backdrop of the Sri Lankan parliament passing a controversial bill last month — the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill — which will establish a Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone and the Colombo Port City Economic Commission under a $1.4 billion deal funded by China.

The bill was passed despite stiff resistance from opposition parties there, who believe this will bring in unprecedented control by the Chinese in that country. The matter was also referred to Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court that urged the Rajapaksa government to make some amendments to the bill.

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