Skip to main content

India is buying world's emptiest airport in its battle for territorial dominance with China

https://www.businessinsider.in/India-is-buying-worlds-emptiest-airport-in-its-battle-for-territorial-dominance-with-China/articleshow/62046916.cms

India Is Buying World's Emptiest Airport In Its Battle For Territorial Dominance With China

TARA FRANCIS CHANDEC 13, 2017, 08.36 AM

AP Photo/Sanka GayashanSri Lankan Buddhist monks wait to welcome Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Air Port in Mattala, Sri Lanka, Monday, March 18, 2013.

India is buying Sri Lanka's second-largest airport, despite it only handling a dozen passengers a day.China recently took control of a nearby port that opens up significant trade routes, and India is worried about China's growing role in the Indian Ocean.Experts say the $300 million investment by India is an attempt to limit China's ability to operate its port as a naval site.

India plans to buy the world's emptiest airport in an effort to limit China's influence in the Indian Ocean.

Designed to accommodate one million passengers per year, Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport - a vanity project by Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that opened in 2013 - is a complete dud and receives just a dozen passengersa day.

Yet India is set to pay $300 million for a joint venture granting it a 40-year lease over the nearly 2,000-acre space in southern Sri Lanka that was once so empty it was used to store rice .

"India's future plans for the airport are hazy. Maybe a flight school? A new destination for Indian weddings? There seems little chance that it will turn a profit. That is not the point of the deal," David Brewster, an expert in Indian Ocean strategies at the Australian National University, recently wrote for The Interpreter .

Instead, the reason for the purchase appears to be the airport's proximity - just a half-hour drive away - from a shipping port in Hambantota, which is run by China .

As China seeks to spread its reach cross-continent via the One Belt, One Road initiative, India, the US, and Japan all hold concerns that China wants to use the Sri Lankan port as a naval base. But its ability to do so is severely hampered without access to an airport.

"A key element in any overseas naval base, and even a logistics facility, is easy access by air for people and supplies. A naval base also requires maritime air surveillance capabilities. Control over Hambantota airport will give India considerable control over how the port is used," wrote Brewster. "It is difficult to conceive of the Chinese navy developing a significant facility at Hambantota without also controlling the airport. In short, India is spending US$300 million buying an airport to block a Chinese naval base."

India's fear of China's rising influence in the Indian Ocean is not unfounded.

A 2015 US Defense Department report confirmed Chinese missile submarines were operating in the Indian Ocean.

The year prior, having cultivated a close relationship with Sri Lanka which has unnerved India, China began docking warships and submarines at a Colombo port

China bought the Sri Lankan port to access one of the world's busiest shipping lanes

AP Photo/Chamila KarunarathneHyundai cars manufactured in India are parked after being unloaded at the Chinese built port in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

Over the weekend Sri Lanka formally handed over control of Hambantota port to Beijing, as part of a $1.1 billion, 99-year lease by the state-owned China Merchants Group.

The deal effectively gives China an easier path to one of the world's busiest shipping lanes as well as greater access to the dozens of countries that are bordered by the Indian Ocean. These include much of Africa, where Beijing's influence is quickly growing, as well as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh that have populations - and markets - set to explode.

According to the Financial Times , a China-run port should lead to "lower prices and improve supply chains across the entire region, and so drive enormous growth in trade volumes."

China's new port is part of its "string of pearls" around India

REUTERS/Lang Lang

"The acquisition of the port by China has spurred particular alarm in India, which is concerned about Beijing's growing strategic and economic footprint in the Indian Ocean region," Ankit Panda, a security-focused editor at Asia-Pacific news magazine The Diplomat, wrote recently.

In India, the Hambantota port is seen as another acquisition in China's "string of pearls."

Each "pearl" is one of Beijing's military assets and alliances in the Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific that, put together, effectively encircle India. These include Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

Just earlier this year, China opened its first international military base. The location is in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, directly west of India

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

5 Shia Hazara community members gunned down in Pakistan

http://m.hindustantimes.com/world-news/5-shia-hazara-community-members-gunned-down-in-pakistan/story-CHWR4lYByRHzf2KjHjMloI.html



Five members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.This is not the first time that members of the Hazara community have been targeted in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.(Reuters File Photo)Updated: Sep 11, 2017 00:20 ISTBy Press Trust of India, Press Trust of India, KarachiFive members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.The gunmen targeted a car in Kuchluck area of Quetta while it was coming from the Chaman border crossing area, police said.The firing took place when the travellers had stopped at a filling station to refuel their vehicle. Five people of the Shia Hazara community, including two women, died in …

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/chinas-digital-silk-road-pitfalls-among-high-hopes/


Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…