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International relations

India strikes hard bargain in Sri Lanka for stake in Colombo port

With eyes on growing Chinese influence, New Delhi ensures its interests get priority

Port of Colombo in 2019: Sri Lanka and India recently agreed on terms for developing the port's Eastern Container Terminal with Indian company Adani Group. (Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

BANGKOK -- Sri Lanka's hawkish President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has caved in to Indian pressure for a stake in the Port of Colombo, the busiest harbor in the strategically located South Asian island where China already has a foothold.

Rajapaksa's retreat came on the heels of a visit earlier this month by Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to India's smaller southern neighbor, where he laid down unequivocal terms for Indian-backed development of a container jetty in the port. The Sri Lankan government has given the nod after taking into account "regional geopolitical concerns," a statement from Rajapaksa's office said after the talks.

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