According to AidData, Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka remains a top option for China’s next naval base within the next few years, raising security concerns for the US and India.
Given its “strategic location, the popularity of China among elites and the population, and Sri Lanka’s alignment with China in UNGA voting, Hambantota is our top candidate for a future base” AidData reports.
The report adds:
“China’s single largest port investment anywhere is at Hambantota, and Beijing exercises direct control over the facility,”
Whilst Sri Lankan leadership initially stated that they would not permit Hambantota port to host any foreign armed forces. A Chinese entity took over the facility in 2017 when Sri Lanka could not repay the loans that helped build it.
Currently, China has established just one overseas military facility, in the East African nation of Djibouti.
The US Pentagon has also raised alarm over China’s potential interest in establishing a facility in Cambodia, which would be the first overseas base in the Indo-Pacific region, but the Cambodian government has reportedly denied this.
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