India’s Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has expressed concerns over China’s plans in Sri Lanka, after the Sri Lanka handed over the operational control of its strategic southern port in Hambantota to a Chinese state-owned company in January.
Hinting at security concerns over Sri Lanka handing over its Hambantota Port to China, Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has raised doubts whether China would confine itself only to port activities, according to a report in The Hindu.
“Whether China will confine itself to only port activities in Hambantota port is a question and I do not want to say anything further,” she told reporters after a meeting on the implementation on “New India vision 2022” at the Collectorate in Ramanathapuram on Wednesday.
She said the Sri Lankan government had handed over the port to China on a 99-year lease after having failed to repay a loan. On whether China setting up its ‘base’ in Hambantota port posed security threat to the country and whether India was prepared to face the threat, she said, “whether China will use the port only for port activities is a question mark and my reply answers all your queries.’
About the failure to identify the killers of Rameswaram fisherman K. Britjo, who was allegedly shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy on the high seas on March 6, 2017, Sitharaman said it was taking time as it was an international issue and the Centre was following it up. “We will not give it up,” she added.