Sri Lanka defends joining China’s OBOR project, welcomes Rajinikanth | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Sri Lanka defends joining China’s OBOR project, welcomes Rajinikanth

India has voiced sovereignty and financial concerns about Chinese president Xi Jinping’s pet project, which has the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as its key element.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2017 22:54 IST
Jayanth Jacob
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with her Sri Lankan counterpart Ravi Karunanayake at a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with her Sri Lankan counterpart Ravi Karunanayake at a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

Sri Lankan foreign minister Ravi Karunanayake on Wednesday defended his country’s participation in the One Belt One Road (OBOR), a signature project of Chinese president Xi Jingping, and said India hadn’t raised any objection in this regard.

India has voiced sovereignty and financial concerns about the project, which has the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as its key element.

Karunanayake – who is in India on a two-day visit – met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and national security advisor Ajit Doval.

Faced with a volley of questions, Karunanayake said India and Sri Lanka had held discussions on the project, which would “revive ancient shipping routes that have existed for thousands of years”.

“Yes, there have been discussions. We don’t want to take the decision in isolation. It is a collective area, and we are a small country. Our foreign policy is (to be) friends with all (and) enemies with none,” he said.

In response to another question, the minister said popular Tamil actor Rajinikanth was welcome to visit Sri Lanka anytime he wanted. In March, the movie star decided against attending an event in Sri Lanka after facing criticism from regional groups such as the Viduthalai Chriuthaigal Katchi and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Karunanayake – answering another query – said the Sri Lankan government has released 42 fishing boats belonging to Tamil Nadu fishermen from its custody, and are in talks to release another 100. Fishermen from the two countries frequently stray across their maritime borders.