Sydney: Beijing is expected to have a vital foothold on the world's busiest international shipping lane as a 500 million dollar Chinese-built port opens this week in Sri Lanka, while it seeks to secure maritime supply routes.
According to news.com.au, the involvement of such a large Chinese company appears to conform to a pattern by Beijing after it sealed a deal in January to acquire the Pakistani port of Gwadar at a time when it is also building a 14 million dollars dry port in the Nepalese city of Larcha, near Tibet.
Chinese loans and expertise were also instrumental in the construction of a new 450 million dollar deep-sea port at the southern Sri Lankan city of Hambantota, which opened in June 2012, the report said.
An independent shipping expert said that the new terminal made economic sense for China to tap in to the growing South Asian container cargo and gave Beijing a foothold along a strategic sea route.
Meanwhile, chairman of the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Priyath Bandu Wickrama, insisted that India had nothing to fear from the new Colombo port and could in fact be a major beneficiary, the report added.
First Published: Sunday, August 4, 2013, 18:32