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Sri Lanka to play major role in Maritime Silk Road: China

Sri Lanka to play major role in Maritime Silk Road: China
‘Sri Lanka will gain from the proposed Maritime Silk Route (MSR) policy of the Chinese government,’ Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao told state-run Xinhua news agency.

Sri Lanka's location puts it in a prime position to act as a hub for South Asia and link to Africa and the Middle East, he said.

‘We are confident to say that Sri Lanka will see a lot of development opportunities and will play a very important role during the cultivation and building process of the new MSR,’ he said.

Sri Lanka, which is receiving billions of dollars assistance from China was the first country to express its support for the MSR, a strategic initiative by China to re-invent the ancient trade routes used by its merchants to sell silk and porcelain hundreds of years ago.

China has identified its Fujian province as starting point for the MSR and announced USD 1.6 billion to develop infrastructure.

China has also invited India to join the initiative. India, however, has sought more details about the road.

The MSR would make the Indian Ocean a hub of Chinese maritime activity.

Besides MSR, China is actively engaging with a host of countries in the neighbourhood to rebuild the ancient silk road connecting China with Europe through the Central Asian States and trade corridors like Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, (BCIM) as well as direct economic corridor with Pakistan through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(PoK).

Since Sri Lanka ended a 30-year war in 2009, China has emerged as the island's largest loan provider, granting USD 1.2 billion in 2009 and USD 821 million in 2010.

Last year alone, China accounted for more than a quarter of all foreign funding coming into Sri Lanka.

China was involved in almost funding of all the large scale projects taking place in Sri Lanka, which included, some of the biggest projects like USD 1.3 billion coal power plant on the north western shore and a USD 1.2 billion Habanthota harbour in the south.

Trade between Sri Lanka and China amounted to $2.
PTI

PTI

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