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Exclusive: India will always be Colombo's 1st choice, says Sri Lankan foreign minister No Chinese submarines can dock at Sri Lanka's Hambantota port, said Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama in an exclusive interview with India Today.
Published Date: 08/11/2018 (Thursday)

By Geeta Mohan

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama dispelled concerns of China "taking over" a strategic port located on the southern part of the island nation and of Colombo drifting into Beijing's sphere of influence.

India will "always" be Sri Lanka's first choice, Amunugama said while speaking to India Today in Colombo. Amunugama underlined that Sri Lanka does not want to be "dragged into military and strategic interests of any country" and that "Sri Lanka will protect its sovereignty".

Amunugama spoke about the Hambantota port, which has been leased out to a Chinese company, and called it a completely "Lankan operation".

"No Chinese submarines can dock here... Just because we take loan from China, it does not mean we will subscribe to their strategic interests," Amunugama told India Today.

Amunugama also spoke about the recent political crisis that rocked the island nation. Political developments in Sri Lanka are being closely watched after Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena ousted PM Ranil Wickramsinghe and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister.

The Sri Lankan parliament will soon be reconvened and a trust vote will be held. The date of the trust vote has not been decided yet.

Here is are the excerpts from India Today's wide-ranging interview with Sarath Amunugama:

Source: India Today

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