Russian naval vessel visiting Hambantota coincides with return of Gotabaya Rajapaksa

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 November 2019, 23:13 GMT]
The Sinhala Navy was enthusiastically arranging sporting and cultural events for the crew of Perekop, a naval training vessel of the Russian Baltic fleet, which docked at Hambantota port operated by China, a day after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as the SL President. “India is likely to welcome this decision since it has been concerned over the use of the strategically located port by the Chinese Navy and has been desirous of Russia expanding its presence in the Indo-Pacific region to make it more inclusive,” observed Mumbai-based The Economic Times in a news report published on Friday.

Perekop, with the 399-member crew, started its four-ocean visit from Kronstadt on 23 August and docked at Hambantota on 19 November.

SL Navy’s Southern Naval Commander Rear Admiral Kassapa Paul was visiting the vessel.

Perekop left the port on Thursday heading towards Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.

The Hambantota port has already seen the visit of US naval vessels for joint training with the SL Navy in April earlier this year. The US naval vessels visiting Hambantota coincided with the Easter Sunday Attacks.

The port area was also the subject of a controversial Foreign Direct Investment by Tamil Nadu politician S. Jagathrakshakan.

Both the US-Sri Lanka joint naval training and the FDI investment from Tamil Nadu politician in Hambantota were reported after the China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPH), which controls the Hambantota port, had conveyed to Indian and US diplomats that its security was led by the retired Sri Lankan Admiral Jayantha de Silva and not by China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

Former SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the brother of the incumbent SL president earned the ire of India when he allowed Chinese submarines to berth in Colombo without alerting India.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to visit India on 29 November, where the geopolitical outlook is expected to be the key concern from the part of India.


Chronology:

 

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