Belt & Road: China's Indian Ocean push

Debt-laden Sri Lanka's deal to sell its southern port of Hambantota to a Chinese SOE extends China's geopolitical influence in the Indian Ocean.

By investing $1.12 billion in the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota, China is looking to create a key staging post as it forges ahead with its Belt and Road masterplan to better connect the Middle Kingdom with Europe and Africa. 

Occupying a prime location, the city could help with the transit of goods to and from China’s eastern coast or inland city of Kunming via Myanmar.

But, in an uncanny echo of its contested geopolitical ambitions in the South China Sea, it also happens to be extending its political and economic clout to the Indian Ocean, putting pressure on rival nuclear power India.

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