China to build port in Myan­mar, 3rd in In­dia’s neigh­bour­hood

■ China is build­ing the Gwadar port in Pak­istan and has a 99-year lease of strate­gic Ham­ban­tota port in Sri Lanka. Be­sides, it is also fund­ing one at Chit­tagong in Bangladesh

The Hitavada - - 2ND FRONT - ■ By Gau­rav Sharma

CHINA will de­velop a multi-bil­lion-dol­lar deep sea port in Myan­mar’s Kyaukpyu town along the Bay of Ben­gal, a devel­op­ment that will con­cern In­dia which al­ready has two Chi­nese-built ports around it.

Un­der China’s Belt and Road project, the deal be­tween Bei­jing and Nay Pyi Taw was signed on Thurs­day af­ter years of stalled talks over the fi­nanc­ing of the project. China is build­ing the Gwadar port in Pak­istan and has a 99-year lease of strate­gic Ham­ban­tota port in Sri Lanka. Be­sides, it is also fund­ing one at Chit­tagong in Bangladesh.

In­dia sees Chi­nese de­vel­op­ing ports in the neigh­bour­hood a strat­egy to en­cir­cle it in the In­dian Ocean. Myan­mar has grown wary of Chi­nese in­vest­ment and has down­sized some of its projects in the coun­try.

The Chi­nese State me­dia said the port deal was a sig­nif­i­cant step for the con­tin­ued im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Belt and Road.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Global Times, China will fund 70 per cent of the project and the re­main­ing 30 per cent will be taken up by Myan­mar.

“The sign­ing of the frame­work agree­ment marks a sig­nif­i­cant step for the port project, which has been stalled since 2015, and for the con­tin­ued im­ple­men­ta­tion of the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI), which has come un­der in­creased scru­tiny be­cause of cases such as the Kyaukpyu port project,” the re­port said.

“Pro­longed ne­go­ti­a­tions fu­elled crit­i­cism of the BRI, which some for­eign crit­ics said could add to lo­cal debts and even threaten other coun­tries’ sovereignty.”

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