Sri Lanka, engulfed in economic crisis, is badly entangled in the clutches of China. Caught in the debt trap of China, Sri Lanka has already given a 99-year lease from an important port to the capital’s land to China. This is worrying for India. Glimpses of China’s influence on Sri Lanka are clearly visible in the capital Colombo. Read this special report.
Angered by the sinking economy and the shortage of essential goods, the people of Sri Lanka are protesting against the government. India is helping Sri Lanka in every possible way so that its neighbor can come out of the crisis. But the big question is, will Sri Lanka be able to come out of China’s clutches even after coming out of the economic crisis?
The 350-meter-high Lotus Tower in Colombo, built with Chinese money, is the tallest tower not only in Sri Lanka but in South Asia. After the tower, China is building South Asia’s most hi-tech city in Colombo.
In the last few years, Sri Lanka has not only given the Hambantota port to China on a 99-year lease, but the Chinese dragon’s claw has reached the capital Colombo. China is setting up a new colony adjacent to the port in the most important area of Colombo. About half of this port city being built in 269 hectares has been given on lease for 99 years to the Chinese company making it. Surprisingly, this sugar colony is being built right in front of the President’s Secretariat of Sri Lanka.
The coast has been expanded by removing sand from the sea for Port City. This port city, being built as a special economic zone, is planned to be developed into the most hi-tech city in South Asia, which will have all the facilities of accommodation and entertainment besides offices for business.
It is being called the Dubai and Hong Kong of the future. It will be ready by 2040 and this will increase the challenges for India both commercially and strategically.
The cost of Colombo Port City Project is 1 billion 400 million US dollars. It is a major part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious BRI i.e. Belt and Road Initiative. Although Sri Lankan experts do not consider it as a move by China, but as an example of China recognizing the opportunity.
Sri Lanka’s biggest investment project Port City is being described as a project full of possibilities to rejuvenate the country’s economy, but in reality it is an example of China’s tightening grip on Sri Lanka after Hambantota Port. For the Port City project, the Sri Lankan Parliament had approved a commission last year, under which the commission would have the right to decide all the rules related to this port. Due to the provisions of this commission, the Sri Lankan opposition had expressed concern about the sovereignty of the country.
After grabbing the Hambantota port in the Indian Ocean, China is now building a state-of-the-art trade center and colony just 300 km from the southern part of India. The 130 meter high telecommunication tower built by China makes one realize the presence of China in Sri Lanka. It is called Lotus Tower. Within a few years, it has become the identity of the capital of Sri Lanka. The lotus flower is considered a symbol of purity in Sri Lanka, but the whole world knows how sacred the intentions of China are.
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