China to build another port in Sri Lanka

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by RAM, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    NEW DELHI: First, it was Hambantota port in south Sri Lanka which went to the Chinese. Now, an ambitious programme to develop Colombo port has been given to another Chinese consortium.

    The Sri Lankan cabinet recently decided to award the contract to build a new deep-water container terminal in Colombo port to a consortium consisting of China Merchant Holdings International and Aitken Spence. According to reports from the island nation, the terminal will be built by the same company that built the Hambantota port complex -- China Harbour Engineering Company ( CHEC) and Sino Hydro Corporation.

    No Indian company even bothered to bid for the project.

    After Hambantota went to the Chinese and Indian strategists saw it as part of Beijing's "string of pearls" strategy, it was believed that India would be more proactive when it came to strategic projects in its neighbourhood, where more than mere economic interests are at stake. But for the ADB-funded Colombo Port project, there were no Indian entities participating in the bids, leaving the Chinese consortium as the sole bidder for the terminal.

    That when China's engagement with Sri Lanka gets deeper. India is Sri Lanka's biggest trading partner, but China is its biggest donor. In 2009, China gave about $1.2 billion to Sri Lanka.

    When it is expanded, the Colombo port -- which will become bigger than most Indian ports combined -- will probably handle the bulk of Indian shipping traffic, making it more than important for India. Sri Lanka is positioning itself as a South Asia hub, which would work very well for India as it currently uses either Singapore or Dubai.

    In fact, the Sri Lankan government has asked for bids for developing an industrial park in Hambantota. But so far, said sources, only a very small number of Indian companies have even expressed interest. Indian companies are getting into numerous sectors in Sri Lanka, but the headline grabbers remain the Chinese, adding to the perception that India is being "surrounded".

    While it is a fact that China, with its deep pockets and state-owned enterprises has been increasing its footprint in South Asia, it's equally true that Indian entities are proving to be unequal to the challenge. Government and industry sources point to a number of reasons.

    First, Indian companies venturing out in the neighbourhood are few because most of them are very risk-averse. They are also all private sector entities and not backed by India's government might as in China. The government is also hesitant about pushing companies in other countries for fear of being tainted by corruption charges.

    Second, countries like Sri Lanka are only now emerging from decades of strife. But whereas this is seen as a strategic opportunity for China, India is far slower off the mark. China also instinctively invests in projects where its presence/benevolence can be seen. In Sri Lanka, as in Bangladesh, Beijing has built much needed convention centres. India could actually be thinking cricket stadiums in Sri Lanka or cricket training academies in Bangladesh. But there is none of that fleet-footedness in New Delhi.

    In countries like Nepal, where anti-India feeling is rife, Indian companies are finding that tenders are tailored in such a way so as to exclude Indian companies. In this way, Indian sources estimate that over 900 Indian companies have lost out in the past couple of years.

    Third, and most important, the top levels of the government remain obsessed with Pakistan, neglecting the other countries in the neighbourhood. The PM, for instance, has only travelled to Bhutan. And there is no brainstorming between government and industry about Indian outreach in these countries and how the public and private sectors can complement each other's efforts.



    Read more: China to build another port in Sri Lanka - The Times of India China to build another port in Sri Lanka - The Times of India
     
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  3. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    If the news turns to be true this can have a far reaching impact on Indian strategy in terms of warding off chinese presence in Indian ocean.Secondly theinternational shipping lane/port in colombo would transpire the needs of the global buisness aspirations negating the Indian ports to secondary status related to containerized cargo.
     
  4. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Colombo port is very optimally located. Most shipping lines route transhipmnt to East Indian ports, Myanmar and even Mid East in transit via Colombo.

    Other implications aside that could be a huge loss for India if Colombo port turns out to be a 'South Asian Shipping Hub'. It's a big business, like Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai largely relying on transhipping traffic, with a lot of revenue, employment, needless to mention a convenient seaport being vital for investment.
     
  5. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Whilst half our "strategic planners" are busy looting the country the other half are inept fools.

    Would any other power aspiring country let this happen ? we are always on the back foot playing defense...does my head in sometimes :angry_10:
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  6. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    from what i have read, india is keen on developing a seaport in jaffna for primarily two reasons, for which the rajapaksa government has already said a yes.

    1 its tamil dominated so a message goes to both the domestic constituency back home in TN and to tamils inhabiting that area that india stands with them and is investing in their future and developing areas dominated by them, this comes on top of 100s of millions of dollars as aid for that region. (though colombo is also tamil dominated, but what be do in the north will be more recognized and appreciated).

    2 geographically this place is closer to india, so if india pre-dominantly uses this port (which is what the intent is) means as a result the local economy will get a fillip as a result the local tamils will benefit and back home it will earn votes in return.

    now these deals are more or less pre-decided, even before the bidding process even starts, and with india's hands full with the jaffna project i doubt india would have been too keen on getting on with another project, dont forget some of the money has to come from india's kitty and we have only that much to spare, and srilanka is not the only country that we intend to give aid to, which is happening in every continent with a decent number of countries, our yearly aid bill now runs into multiple billions of dollars.

    for now we are doing okay to keep our interests intact in sri lanka, dont need to press the panic button just because a certain ToI says so, which has a problem with everything that china does.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  7. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    If India is not able to stop Sri Lanka from giving permission to build these ports then India can surely put pressure on the Sri Lankan Govt to give them permission to build an Indian port near to the one the Chinese building.

    An eye for an eye.
     

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