New Delhi [India], Feb 27 (ANI): Sri Lankan army chief Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne on Tuesday clarified that the claims about the Hambantota port in southern Sri Lanka being utilised as a foreign military base was false.
Speaking at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2018 at the Manekshaw Centre here, Admiral Wijegunaratne said, "There had been a widespread claim about Hambantota port being earmarked to be used as a military base. I can assure that no action will be taken in our harbours and waters which would jeopardise India's security concerns."
China recently opened its foreign military base in Djibouti in western Africa to strengthen its maritime presence in the region in July last year. The facility comprises of a large helicopter base, a naval port and a huge accommodation for nearly 10,000 Chinese troops.
The Sri Lankan army chief reiterated that the maritime preparedness in the Indian Ocean region was of utmost priority for Sri Lanka and that it was undertaking regular joint military exercises for the same.
Admiral Wijegunaratne stated that the Sri Lankan government clearly said that it would not enter into any military alliance with any country.
"Our political leadership led by President (Maithripala) Sirisena and Prime Minister (Ranil Wickremesinghe) clearly stated that the government will not enter into military alliance with any country for making our bases available to foreign countries," he asserted.
The Chinese firm will now hold 70 percent stake in a joint venture with the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), who will hold the remaining 30 percent. (ANI)