Sri Lanka to ink Hambantota port deal with China Saturday: PM

Sri Lanka's Cabinet on July 25 approved the sale to a Chinese firm of a 70 per cent stake in the Hambantota port, tweaking the deal after the initial agreement sparked protests.

The sole authority of managing the defence of the port is the Sri Lankan government and use of the port for military activities is prohibited.

China Merchants Port Holdings will take an 85 percent stake in Hambantota International Port Group that will run the port and its terminals, with the rest held by Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

The signing of the Hambantota port agreement is to go ahead tomorrow despite the matter not being debated in Parliament today.

The deal will also help Sri Lanka manage its foreign debt better, he added.

India perceives it as a danger to its national security. So this deal needs to be discussed in the parliament and among the public.

Sri Lanka's Parliament, which was expected to debate the deal Friday, was adjourned was amid a rumpus created by the so-called "joint opposition" legislators loyal to ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

His comments are being seen as an attempt to allay Indian concerns over the Chinese presence in the Hambantota port.

India's concerns come after increased outreach by Beijing to India's neighbours, including Nepal and Bangladesh, and China's ongoing development of the Port of Gwadar in Pakistan, said Shailesh Kumar, Eurasia's senior analyst for Asia.

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