Hambantota Port – All You Need To Know
Recently Hambantota Port was in the news, In this article, we will study about Hambantota and its importance for both India and China in detail.
So let’s begin.
Where is Hambantota and why it was in the news?
- It is a place in the southern province of Sri Lanka. This area was hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
- Sri Lanka handed over Hambantota Port to China on a 99-year lease.
- India decided to acquire 70 per cent of Hambantota Airport for 30 years.
Why Sri Lanka leased its port to China?
- In 2009 Sri Lankan army won over LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) and Rajapaksa came into the power.
- Due to this civil war, Sri Lanka suffered a huge economic loss.
- Govt decided to develop Hambantota just like the Colombo which is a huge commercial centre to generate revenue.
- Rajapaksa announced various plans regarding this port but various countries including India refused to help as it has a very poor economic viability.
- China offered a loan of 307 million dollars but with a condition that all the tenders will be given to Chinese company only.
- Later on, ties between Rajapaksa and China grew stronger, so he took more loans from China. He also took loans for his 2015 election campaign from the Chinese companies but he lost that election.
- The new govt formed is pro India so they decided to stop the development of the Port but Sri Lanka is already in a debt of 13 billion which they had to pay back to China.
- But the port has poor economic viability and it became a financial liability on Sri Lanka.
- So under the pressure of the lone Sri Lankan govt leased its port to China for 99 years.
Why India acquired Hambantota Airport?
- As China has taken over 85% rights of the port, there is a risk that the Chinese Navy can dock their submarines which will hamper the security of India
- China can choke all the possible trade in the Indian Ocean.
- So to keep an eye on the Chinese activities India acquired Hambantota Airport.
IMF, World Bank and various other countries refused to give loan for this project because it was clear that this project will be an economic failure. Hambantota is a remote place with poor connectivity, also Colombo port is sufficient for all trades, there was no requirement of any other sister port.
China had its own plans for its well-known strategy of “String of Pearls” that is why they offered a big amount of loan to Sri Lanka. To counter this strategy India acquired Hambantota airport on a huge loss.
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