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Under the Radar: Are Sri Lanka’s ports the next Great Game for China, India and Japan?

Jeremy Luedi
The planned Hambantota port city and prospective world financial hub

Increased international interest in the Indian Ocean comes at a convenient time for Sri Lanka, as the country continues to recoup after the end of its decades-long civil war which ended in 2009. The island nation is being courted (and courting in turn) by various major powers, each seeking a stake in developing Sri Lanka’s strategic location midway between the Middle East and the Straits of Malacca. While opportunities present themselves, all this attention also comes with its own set of complications.

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Stars and Stripes March 20 2017

Island Nation in Indian Ocean now a big draw for US, China

Erik Slavin
The USNS Fall River moors at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka as part of the Pacific Partnership 2017 exercise this month

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka — The answer to why a state-of-the-art port exists in a remote part of one of Asia’s smallest nations lies a short distance out in the Indian Ocean.

A critical sea lane is a reason China built the little-used Hambantota port in the first place, and why — besides a long-­standing regional humanitarian mission — the U.S. military was keen to visit for nearly two weeks this month.

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New Eastern Outlook February 15 2017

China and India Contest the Right to Own Hambantota

Vladimir Terehov
Equipped with a pair of modern container cranes, the Hambantota Port, pictured, has been most successful attracting roll-on, roll-off cargo.

Analysts specialized in predicting the course relations between India and China may take, have recently followed a scenario unravelling around the small town of Hambantota, located in the south of the Republic of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon).

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The Diplomat February 22 2017

India Could Do More for Sri Lanka’s Tamils

Taylor Dibbert
Image credited from

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has been relatively quiet when it comes to Tamil issues in Sri Lanka, although now would be a good time for the prime minister to reconsider his low-key approach. Modi visited Sri Lanka in March 2015, the first time an Indian prime minister had travelled to the island nation in nearly thirty years. He even went to Jaffna in the country’s north, a symbolically significant move.

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Global times  February 06 2017

China won’t back down from building economic, commercial ties with Sri Lanka

Hu Weijia
Narendra Modi in a bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23, 2016

It would not necessarily be a bad thing if healthy competition between China and India in the Sri Lankan market could be further stirred up. While China and Sri Lanka ramp up efforts to finalize a free trade agreement (FTA) this year, India is pushing for the signing of the Economic Technology Cooperation Agreement with Sri Lanka to broaden the scope of its existing FTA. It seems that neither China or India wants to be left behind in boosting its presence in the island nation.

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YaleGlobal Online January 12 2017

Rekindled Sino-Indian tensions roil geopolitics in Asia

Harsh V. Pant
A Pakistani nuclear-capable cruise missile is launched from a submarine during a test firing. Photo: AFP

After a few timid signs of warming, Sino-Indian relations seem to be headed for the freezer. While Beijing refuses to take Indian security concerns seriously, New Delhi may have decided to take the Chinese challenge head-on. To complicate matters for India, its erstwhile ally Russia, which has become a close friend of China, is showing interest in establishing closer ties with Pakistan.

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