LankaWeb – U.S. military presence and popular resistance in Sri Lanka
The Indian Ocean is one of the most contested regions in the world today. China, the United States, India, and also Japan, Saudi Arabia and other rich and powerful states are struggling for influence over Sri Lanka, located in the geographical heart of the Indian Ocean. Sea lanes of the Indian Ocean are considered to be the busiest in the world with more than 80% of global seaborne oil trade estimated to be passing through them.
Sri Lanka is a participant in the Maritime Belt and Silk Road Initiative, Chinas extensive network of ports and maritime facilities connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In a controversial move in January 2017, the Sri Lankan government granted China a 99-year lease of Hambantota Port in exchange for U.S. $1.1 billion in debt relief. China is also developing other projects in Sri Lanka, such as, the U.S. $1.4 billion Port City in Colombo, on land reclaimed from the Indian Ocean.
To curtail Chinese expansion across Asia, the U.S. is turning strategically located Sri Lanka into a Military Logistics Hub, and the center of its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region Policy. Moreover, ....