scorecardIndia pushing back China in race to collect Lanka port assets
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India pushing back China in race to collect Lanka port assets

India pushing back China in race to collect Lanka port assets
StrategyStrategy2 min read
India is planning to invest in a colonial-era Sri Lankan oil-storage facility, continuing with its plans to enhance its naval interests in the Indian Ocean, meanwhile pushing China back in the race.

Also read: Indian Ocean can’t be India’s backyard, says China

A unit of Indian Oil, India’s largest refiner, is being readied to help fund the $350 million development of what would be a facility with 84 tanks, situated at the strategically located Trincomalee port on Sri Lanka's east coast.

Moreover, talks are on between the two countries to set up a refinery in the island nation, said Shyam Bohra, MD (Lanka IOC).

Also read: India wants to challenge China to become Asia’s leading shipping hub

Indian Prime Minister will be meeting his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe in New Delhi tomorrow, and would also be flying to Sri Lanka next month.

The reason behind India's interests in the Sri Lankan port could be more strategic than economic, as it looks forward to displacing the hefty investment that China is doing in Sri Lanka, says a report from Bloomberg.

In the recent past, China has expanded both militarily and economically in the region, having docked its submarines in Colombo.

As per analysts, India didn’t act fast in making big investments in Trincomalee for decades, and it could be because of the government being content with a small base which helps keep enemies out.

Lanka IOC is managing the 15 operational tanks at the Trincomalee port, along with a lubricant blending unit, while discussions are on to jointly develop part of the tank farm with 84 more tanks, bringing the total capacity to almost 7.5 million barrels.

Talking of China, it has already built a port at Hambantota in Sri Lanka's south, and is also investing heavily in Gwadar port in Pakistan along CPEC.

Also read: China to fund weapon building in Pakistan

On the other hand, India’s progress with a nearby port at Chabahar in Iran has been slow as well.

Also read: Why Iran nuclear deal may lead to windfall gains for India

(Image source AsianVoice)

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