Chinese-funded Colombo Port City Project: GR: Govt. has let Indian cat out of the bag
Posted on August 4th, 2016

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday told The Island that the government had now accepted his public declaration that India had pressured the previous government to abandon the $ 1.4 bn Chinese funded off-shore Port City Project. The former Defence Secretary first made the accusation over a year ago in the run-up to parliamentary polls in August last year.

The former Defence Secretary said that the previous government had been brought under tremendous pressure over the joint venture on the basis of New Delhi’s perception that it threatened their security interests.

The war veteran spoke out on the matter once again after co-cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne’s admission that the government renegotiated the agreement following Indian intervention. The Health Minister made the statement at the weekly post-cabinet briefing at the Government Information Department on Tuesday (Aug. 2).

State-owned China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) is responsible for the project.

“Political parties should take up this matter both in parliament and outside. The country needs a clear explanation in respect of the Minister’s statement,” former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said.

Responding to a query, the former Defence Secretary said that Minister Senaratne on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka had admitted that the bilateral agreement was renegotiated due to India’s intervention.

Perhaps, the yahapalana administration should explain whether India had to be consulted in respect of agreements with China or any other country deemed hostile to the regional power, the former Defence Secretary said.

In July last year, the former Defence Secretary alleged at a seminar at the National Library, Colombo that India had wanted the then government to stop the Chinese-project on their assumption that it was inimical to India’s security. The Gajaba regiment combat veteran said that India’s position had been conveyed to him personally by no less a person than India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Retired police officer and veteran intelligence operative Doval succeeded one-time Indian High Commissioner Shivshankar Menon as National Security Advisor on May 30, 2014.

Then Lankan Defence Secretary met Doval in New Delhi in October 2014. Subsequently, Doval visited Colombo in early December 2014 to meet the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, common presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“Doval’s primary request was to stop the Colombo Port City project. The reason he gave was that the Port City was a threat to the security of India. I don’t know if the present government is facing such demands,” the local media quoted the former Defence Secretary as having told the meeting at the National Library.

“I assured the Indian National Security Advisor that the project posed no threat to India.”

Pointing out that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration had halted the project immediately after January 2015 presidential polls, the former Defence Secretary alleged that obviously Indian officials and the then Opposition discussed the matter in the run-up to the polls. Had there been an understanding between India and the then Opposition regarding the future of port city project as well as other

Chinese funded ventures? the former Defence Secretary asked.

Rjapaksa pointed out that Minister Senaratne had also contradicted a previous Foreign Ministry denial (in July last year following his original statement) that India pushed Sri Lanka to suspend the project. The media quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne as having said that it was not true.

The former Defence Secretary said that the government suspended the project in March 2015, a week ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka.

The former Defence Secretary said that the circumstances under which Sri Lanka had been forced to renegotiate the project should be examined against the backdrop of continuing external intervention in domestic matters. The government initially alleged that the Rajapaksa administration authorized the project without obtaining proper environmental assessment.

The retired soldier recalled India coming to the LTTE’s rescue way back in May-June 1987 when the then JRJ government pursued military option to eradicate terrorism by launching the Vadamaarachchi operation (Operation Liberation).

Asked whether the previous government had pursued a policy hostile towards India or Western powers, the former Defence Secretary emphasized that the previous government’s priority was nothing but eradication of terrorism. “Both India and China backed Sri Lanka’s war effort and we continuously briefed our neighbour regarding progress.”

Responding to another query, the former Defence Secretary emphasized that China and India had invested in Sri Lanka in various sectors and also provided training and equipment to armed forces over the years.

2 Responses to “Chinese-funded Colombo Port City Project: GR: Govt. has let Indian cat out of the bag”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Continual intervention by foreign powers in Sri Lanka’s internal matters is a threat to its sovereignty, national security and economic development.

    Western Powers want to keep China out as central to their China contsinment policy, setup internal 5th columns in Sri Lanka blackmail and destabilize our governments, and refuse to finance our economic development to the extent that China can and does. Nevertheless, they demand that Sri Lanka comply with their wishes …. otherwise bad things will happen to us….

    India also wants Sri Lanka to have nothing to do with China, either in economic development or in national security matters, despite the fact that India is the principal military, political and economic threat Sri Lanka faces. That is clear not only from the terrorism India initiated and supported in Sri Lanka and the continual violation of Sri Lanka’s territory by its air force and army, it’s intelligence services, but also in the continual interference within Sri Lanka to set up its Tamil population as a political proxy, and to Indianize Sri Lanka’s economy and culture with various schemes.

    Yet, India assumes that Sri Lanka has no real and compelling reasons to fear it and to establish political and military alliances with other countries such as China and Pakistan to protect itself.

    With a CRAVEN & WILLING collaborator of the Western Powers and India in the Yamapalanaya GOSL, the majority Sinhala Buddhist community has NO VOICE and NO POWER to protect its INTRINSIC & CRITICAL nationsl INTERESTS.

    EVERYDAY in EVERYWAY the SAFETY & PROSPERITY of the Sinhala Buddhist community and their Motherland is being COMPROMISED.

    Therefore, it is a matter of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE that the Sinhala Buddhists bury their differences and come together to REGAIN the power they lost to protect their national sovereignty.


    Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it is tolling for us!

  2. plumblossom Says:

    India has over 400 million poor people and over 40 million people in India are unemployed. If this ETCA is signed and the Hanuman bridge is built all these desperate people in India will come in droves to Sri Lanka since the socio-economic situation of Sri Lanka is a million times better than the socio economic situation of India. I would urge the uncaring and cruel Indian government to provide basic housing, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, education, food and clothing to these desperately poor 400 million Indians rather than spending US 5.2 billion dollars in building a Hanuman bridge to Sri Lanka. If Sri Lanka signs this ETCA with India it will be Sri Lanka’s end. Sri Lanka should not sign any such trade deals where people can come here to work freely, unless the country we are signing the ETCA with has a similar or a better socio-economic situation than Sri Lanka. I would urge the uncaring, corrupt and cruel India Government to immediately stop building space stations and nuclear weapons and use that money to provide basic housing, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, education, food and clothing to the 400 million desperately poor people of India which is a government’s basic responsibility. Sri Lanka should stop immediately the signing of ETCA with India and urge the Indian Government to carry out the above task rather than serving the rich people of India only which the uncaring and cruel Indian Government seems to be doing.

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