SRILANKA OPENS CHINA FINANCED RAILWAY LINE
10, Apr 2019
Prelims level : International Relations Mains level : GS-II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations
Why in news?
- China has financed and constructed Sri Lanka’s first new railway line after the island nation became independent in 1948.
- The 26.75-km long Matara-Beliatta railway extension was declared open for the public by Sri Lanka’s Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry. China has invested heavily and pledged financial loans to Sri Lanka, a strategically located country in the Indian Ocean.
- Beijing already has a 99-year lease of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, a result of Colombo’s failure to repay Chinese debts.
Financed by EXIM bank of china
- The railway extension was financed by the Export- Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank) and the contract was awarded to China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation. The Matara-Beliatta railway line is the first to be constructed in Sri Lanka since 1948 and it includes the longest and
- second longest railway bridges of 1.5 km and 1.04 km, respectively, China is Sri Lanka’s biggest lender. Sri Lanks’s envoy to China in February said Colombo will get a $1 billion loan from China and might sign a free trade agreement with Beijing. Sri Lanka is returning to normalcy after being hit by a deep political crisis last year that plunged the credit rating of the already-indebted country.
- Beijing’s growing presence in Sri Lanka worries India which held considerable clout in the country.